HL Deb 01 May 1958 vol 208 cc1178-80

3.21 p.m.


My Lords, with the leave of the House I should like to make a personal statement. In my capacity as Lord Chancellor I have received from the Government of Tanganyika an invitation to open the new High Court in Dar-es-Salaam on Saturday, 17th May. It is proposed that I should perform this Ceremony dressed in the Lord Chancellor's robes and that I should address the Judges and members of the legal profession from the Bench of the new Court. Your Lordships will no doubt remember that in attending such a ceremony I shall, as I did three years ago in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, be following the happy precedent set by my distinguished predecessor, the late Lord Jowitt.

My attendance at this ceremony would make it necessary for me to leave on the 15th May, and I could not conveniently return until after the date on which, in the normal course of events, this House will have risen for the Whitsun Recess. I should add that I have also been invited to join the Chief Justice of the United States at the ceremonial foundation of the new Law School Building of the University in Chicago. This ceremony will take place in the week beginning Whit Sunday, and my attendance will not involve my missing any Sitting of the House. Accordingly, I ask for your Lordships' approval of my visit to Dar-es-Salaam, and if your Lordships are good enough to give me this I am sure that I shall take with me to Tanganyika the good wishes of your Lordships from every quarter of the House.


My Lords, I am sure your Lordships will unanimously approve the application which my noble and learned friend on the Woolsack has just made. It seems to me quite extraordinary that, with the great load of responsibilities and work that rests upon him, he should seek still further work to do. I am quite sure that his presence at Dar-es-Salaam will be greatly appreciated, as also when he visits Chicago. His presence at Dar-es-Salaam will surely emphasise the oneness of the Commonwealth, and on behalf of noble Lords who sit behind me I would wish him well indeed on his mission.


My Lords, we on this side of course gladly agree to give the noble and learned Viscount leave of absence. In the normal course of events I imagine that he would have to apply to himself, but in this case he has taken the proper course of applying to the House. We give this leave of absence the more readily because we wholeheartedly approve of the purpose for which he is going. We think that he is achieving a great purpose in opening the Law Courts in Dar-es-Salaam. We hope and believe that they will administer British law in the British way there, and I am sure I that the presence of the Lord Chancellor of Great Britain will be a great inspiration to them and we shall bask in the reflected glory which his presence will give on that occasion.

We are also proud of the fact that he has been asked to take part in the ceremony in Chicago, and this also will have the effect of cementing our relationships with the United States. It is fortunate that this takes place to a certain extent during the Whitsun Recess, otherwise I should have been stating the feelings of the whole House if I had warned the noble and learned Viscount against overdoing it. I know how tiring long-distance travel can be. but he will have the Whit-sun Recess before him, and I hope he will come back to us in his usual good health and good temper, and with the feeling that he has done a very good job.


My Lords, from this quarter of the House I should like to endorse what has been said and to add our best wishes to the noble and learned Viscount in his trip abroad. I hope he will remember that he is very nearly irreplaceable, at least up to the date of the next General Election, and possibly thereafter, so I hope that he will not take any undue risk which might cause a replacement to be necessary. I think we shall all agree that the great assiduity with which he performs his Parliamentary, judicial and social functions is quite remarkable. Although we are certain that this visit will be extremely useful, we also hope that it will be enjoyable and pleasant.


My Lords, without inflicting any more words upon your Lordships, may I express my most sincere gratitude at the kindness which the speeches have shown.