HC Deb 29 June 1965 vol 715 cc52-3W
69. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations on how many occasions in the past 12 months temporary appointments to the Diplomatic Service have been made of candidates who had previously failed their normal entrance examination; on what basis applicants are accepted or refused; and to what extent the school and background of those appointed are taken into consideration.

Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations on whose authority temporary appointments are made to the Diplomatic Service; how many instances there have been in the last five years where such an appointee was given the status of a third secretary in a British High Commission overseas; and how long such appointments have lasted.

Mr. Bottomley

Under the power vested in my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary and myself, machinery exists for recruiting temporary officers for vacancies which may occur from time to time. Candidates are chosen by a Selection Board who assess the applicants' qualifications, achievements and general qualities of character needed for the Diplomatic Service. The school attended by a candidate or his social background is not a matter of primary importance. In the past 12 months one candidate was appointed who has previously failed the entrance examination for established employment in the career Service.

In the past five years 18 temporary appointments were made to British High Commissions overseas in the rank of second or third secretary. Two of these who were under 25 years of age were third secretaries, the rest were second secretaries. The appointments were for a period of three to five years.