I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for that answer which demonstrates a dramatic improvement. What hope does he have that the other vacancies will be filled speedily?
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for what he said. The trend is a positive one. It reflects not only the increased salaries available—they are highly competitive—but the improvement in the quality of career which the service offers. We shall continue with that, and I hope to see the service fully recruited in the short term.
Does the Attorney-General agree that basically vacancies and recruitment problems happen to be in London and the surrounding areas? Does he further agree that were London to recruit at the same levels as Yorkshire, Manchester or many other areas, the service and the courts in London would be that much more enhanced? They are simply overworked in London.
Yes, the hon. Gentleman, who has close knowledge of these matters, is right that London is certainly one of the worst areas—or parts of London are. Humberside is another bad area. We must analyse the reasons why. Advertising and the promotion of the service are now devolved to local areas, and they are making great strides. I hope that the improvement that we have noticed will continue. I think that it will.