Can the Minister understand the extreme bitterness of my constituents who are refused legal aid, even though they are on poverty wages, while people such as Ernest Saunders, Asil Nadir and other wealthy crooks are given massive help by his Department and while barristers go on day after day spitting out their profits?
The hon. Gentleman will take only modest comfort from the fact that we are to issue a paper entitled "Legal Aid for the Apparently Wealthy", as I said earlier. The issues involved should be looked at from first principles, and my efforts will join those of the hon. Gentleman in that spirit.
Is my hon. Friend aware that many people come to my advice centres complaining that the people who are proceeding against them are on legal aid, and that they therefore cannot hope to fight successfully against the weight of the state's money?
A possible part of the original sin of the legal aid system is that there are civil cases in which one party receives legal aid and the other does not. If I had a remedy for that this afternoon, I would certainly offer it to the House. I am well aware of the point that my hon. Friend makes.