As the hon. and learned Member will know, my right hon. Friend has circulated for comment proposals for altering the custodial sentences for young offenders. In present circumtances I do not think that a committee of inquiry would be appropriate.
I am aware that this memorandum has been circulated and I have read it with interest. Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Home Secretary has remitted a similar problem to the Advisory Council on the Penal System? Is he further aware that I cannot understand the reluctance of Scottish Ministers to set up a similar body in Scotland? Would it not be better, on such a broad issue, when young offenders unfortunately loom so large in our criminal records, if we were to reconstitute the very useful body which did such good work in this direction 10 years ago?
It is true that it did good work, and was stood down by the party opposite. The point is that the proposal arose from a wide-ranging conference. All the views expressed were sent to every organisation involved and we are studying the representations made on that basis. This is an equally democratic method, which is more effective and certainly swifter.