Oral Answers to Questions — House of Lords Reform.

– in the House of Commons on 27th February 1922.

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Mr. GIDEON MURRAY:

45.

asked the Prime Minister whether he will consider in any scheme for the reform of the House of Lords the desirability of creating the post of Lord Chancellor on an analogous basis to that held by the Speaker of this House, thereby effecting economy in pension charges, owing to the fewer number of holders of the office there are likely to be under such new conditions?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

It will be premature to indicate in advance what would be the scheme for the reform of the House of Lords. I may, however, observe that, if such a change as the hon. Member suggests were made, the result would not be economy but a heavier charge, since the ex-Lord Chancellors perform services which are necessary for the administration of justice at a less cost than would be incurred if those functions were performed by salaried Law Lords, and any reduction in the number of ex-Lord Chancellors would entail a corresponding increase in the number of salaried Judges.

Mr. MURRAY:

Are all the ex-Lord Chancellors employed in law offices at present?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I do not know what my hon. Friend means by "employed in law offices," but I think they all give their services in the House of Lords or the Privy Council.

Photo of Major Murdoch Wood Major Murdoch Wood , Aberdeenshire and Kincardineshire Central

Would it not be better that the remuneration which these ex-Lord Chancellors receive should be called salary and not pension, seeing that they actually have work?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

That is a matter of opinion, and I am never very much inclined to dispute or waste time over words.

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many ex-Lord Chancellors are on pension at present in Ireland and England?

Mr. CHAMBERLAIN:

I cannot say without notice.

Photo of Mr Joseph Devlin Mr Joseph Devlin , Belfast Falls

There are about a dozen of them.