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Volume 87: debated on Monday 18 November 1985

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asked the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if he will make a statement on his duties as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.

My duties are such that I have overall responsibility for the work of the Duchy of Lancaster Office.

That tells us a lot. Is it not also part of the right hon. Gentleman's duty to try to ensure that the deputy chairman of the Tory party does not keep putting his foot into his mouth? The right hon. Gentleman in particular is always talking about other organisations being democratic. Can he explain why there are no elections for the position of party chairman? Why is the appointment subject to only one person's choice?

If providence had not pre-empted him, the hon. Gentleman would be in danger of making a fool of himself. The fact of the matter is that my duties as chairman of the Conservative party, for which I emphasise I do not answer in this House, are entirely similar to those of the general secretary of the Labour Party, Mr. Whitty, who is not elected to his post, either.