HC Deb 06 March 2001 vol 364 cc144-5
35. Mr. David Taylor (North-West Leicestershire)

When he expects the Auld report to be published. [150771]

The Parliamentary Secretary, Lord Chancellor's Department (Jane Kennedy)

Sir Robin Auld expects to complete his review shortly.

Mr. Taylor

My hon. Friend will know that the continuing uncertainty and delays in the publication of the report is doing nothing for the morale and effectiveness of the lay magistracy, which has support on a grand scale across the political spectrum, as demonstrated by early-day motion 123. Will she confirm that her Department will fight vigorously against any attempt by the cold and clammy hands of Treasury and Home Office accountants to diminish and reduce the effectiveness of the lay magistracy in terms of its relationship to district judges, who many believe are likely to replace lay magistrates in many important respects?

Jane Kennedy

My hon. Friend will be aware of the oft-stated support for the lay magistracy, both from my noble and learned Friend and from my ministerial colleagues and me. The topics that Sir Robin Auld is looking at are complex and interrelated and he has received more than 1,000 submissions to analyse. We need to wait until we have the full details of his analysis and the full proposals before we can comment further on the ideas that he may wish to share with us.