§ [The references are to Bill No. 58 as first printed for the House of Commons]
Clause 3, page 2, line 27, leave out lines 27 and 28 and insert—
("(a) the Rector; (b) the Principal of the University;").
THE EARL OF HOME
My Lords, the effect of this Amendment is to retain the Rector of the University as the Chairman of the University Court. Your Lordships will remember that, at an earlier stage of the Bill, much of our discussion centred round the question whether the Rector or the Principal should preside. My noble and gallant friend Lord Tedder and the rest of the Royal Commission in their Report, had suggested that the Principal should preside over the University Court, and I must say that at an earlier stage of this Bill I felt that those arguments held the field. At any rate, I also felt it was as well to let the Royal Commission's proposals go as a whole to another place where they could be fully debated with the benefit of our full discussion before them. When the Committee stage was finished, I warned the Secretary of State that the arguments and the feeling in your Lordships' House seemed to me to be moving towards keeping the Rector in the Chair, and that he might well find 880 in another place a situation very similar to that which prevailed in your Lordships' House. That was in fact the result when the Bill came to Committee in another place; the proposal to retain the Rector in the Chair was carried by a decisive majority, and the Government accepted that view. My Lords, when personality—in the person of Lord Crawford—and tradition hold the field, perhaps your Lordships will allow me to execute a modest political somersault. The Government ask your Lordships to accept the Commons Amendment. I therefore beg to move that this House do agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.
§ Moved, That this House do agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(The Earl of Home.)
§ LORD GREENHILL
My Lords, I wish to add nothing to what the noble Earl, Lord Home, has said: indeed, I was hoping that the noble and gallant Lord, Lord Tedder, might offer his own observations. I think, however, it is correct to say that tradition, and perhaps mainly the personality of the individual suggested, accounts for the fact that the other place decided to reverse the opinion expressed by the members of the Royal Commission. My own feeling is that the Royal Commission were correct in their recommendations. At the same time, one cannot help but recognise, and admit, that the present Rector of the University is one who is acceptable to everyone. It is to be hoped that under his chairmanship the University will have the success that those of us on the Commission hoped it would achieve.
§ LORD REITH
My Lords, may I say to the noble Earl that some of us are very glad that the Government saw fit to change their minds on this matter. It is a satisfaction to us that the noble Earl, Lord Crawford, should be retained in the position which we felt he so fully merited. I think we should have been even more glad had the Government seen fit to change their minds a few months earlier, rather than put the Whips on against what we so earnestly and urgently then suggested. At any rate, it is a matter of great gratification that the noble Earl now feels as he does.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.