I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General whether the Lord Chancellor has yet made a rule constituting the office of Public Trustee, as required by Section 14 of the Public Trustee Act; if so, when such rule will be laid upon the Table of this House, in accordance with the provisions of the Act; and whether he can explain how Mr. C. J. Stewart came to be appointed to the office of Public Trustee prior to such rule having been made and laid upon the Table.
No such rule has yet been made. It is expected that the rule will be laid on the Table of the House by the end of the present month. The employment of Mr. Stewart has been provisional. He has not yet been officially appointed Public Trustee, and it is not anticipated that he will receive that appointment until September or October.
If the rule is not laid on the Table until the end of the present month, how will there be an opportunity for the House to move to annul the rule within thirty days; and how, as the office of Public Trustee has not yet been established, is it that Mr. Stewart has announced his acceptance, and has resigned his connection with the brewery company with which he has been associated?
I anticipate there will be ample time before the House rises to allow discussion of the rule. Mr. Stewart has been provisionally employed to organise the office and the machinery which must be put into operation before the Act comes into use. The appointment has not yet been made, and will not be made until the House has had an opportunity of discussing the rule. It is not expected that it will be necessary to appoint him until the date named.
Does the hon. and learned Gentleman agree that at the present moment the office of Public Trustee has not been established and, if so, is there any precedent for appointing a gentleman provisionally to an office which does not exist?
I entirely agree that the office has not been established, and that there is no precedent for appointing a gentleman to an office which does not exist.
I beg to ask Mr. Attorney-General whether he can give the names of the other candidates for the post of Public Trustee which were before the Lord Chancellor when Mr. C. J. Stewart was selected for the office.
Applications for appointment to a public office are usually made in confidence, and I think that confidence ought to be respected. I have not seen a list of the applicants.
Will the Attorney-General tell us in confidence whether the hon. Gentleman is one of the applicants?
No, Sir; I am not seeking any Government appointment.
At a later stage,
asked Mr. Speaker whether it was competent for the hon. Member for South Donegal to impute to him a personal pecuniary motive in any Question he might address to Ministers.
said that if the hon. Member took exception to his observation he would at once frankly apologise. He interrupted the hon. Member on the spur of the moment, and he thought that no one but the hon. Gentle man himself would have imagined that he imputed any motive to him.