Orders of the Day — Crime (Sentences) Bill
Mr Alan Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
I am aware of my hon. and learned Friend's speech. I enjoyed his references to sheep stealing in particular, which is a problem in my part of the country. He certainly did not commit himself to the scale of sentencing and imprisonment implicit in the Bill, which the Labour party appears to support. A little earlier this evening, we had a debate about whether the principle that the courts should have at their disposal when considering whether to apply a mandatory sentence should be a narrow one or a wider one, to serve the interests of justice. The Labour party could not even bring itself to support the amendment, even though some Conservative Members, such as the right hon. Member for Fareham (Sir P. Lloyd), voted for it. Labour Members have run away from the issue. If they get into the habit of standing on their heads, they may find that they cannot get back on their feet.