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Yes, Sir; I accept what the hon. Gentleman says. In fact, about 10 per cent. of new cases received by the Parliamentary Commissioner were rejected under the exclusions which have been commented upon in the distinguished report by the hon. Gentleman's Committee. Obviously, we pay great attention to the authority of the Committee over which the hon. Gentleman presides, but we have not yet reached a decision on the matter.
Apart from broadening the scope of the matters which may be investigated by the Parliamentary Commissioner, would my right hon. Friend carefully consider the Swedish system, whereby the Commissioner on his own initiative can investigate matters and so keep both Ministers and civil servants permanently on their toes?
I think the right thing is what the House has decided; namely, that the Parliamentary Commissioner should operate within the Act laid down by this Parliament, with the exclusions, and there must be certain exclusions. We have the further safeguard of a Select Committee of this House which receives reports from the Ombudsman. I believe this to be the best system. But since the Committee under the chairmanship of the hon. Member for Hendon, South (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth) has made suggestions for widening the scope of the Parliamentary Commissioner, then obviously it is for the Government to consider this matter with the respect that we feel for that Committee.