Oral Answers to Questions — Capital Punishment.

– in the House of Commons at on 23 July 1931.

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Photo of Mr James Lovat-Fraser Mr James Lovat-Fraser , Lichfield

17.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in what prisons in England and Wales executions have been carried out during the past year; and in which of such prisons are young offenders under 21 confined?

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

Since 1st, July, 1930, executions have been carried out at Pentonville, Birmingham, Leeds, Bedford and Manchester. There are no young prisoners in Pentonville, as in London it is possible to arrange for them to go to Wormwood Scrubs.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

21.

asked the Home Secretary what steps he proposes to Lake to give effect to the recommendations of the Select Committee that capital punishment be suspended for five years?

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

As the Select Committee recognised, legislation would be necessary for this purpose, and, until Parliament has had an opportunity of considering and pronouncing upon the recommendations of the committee, I am afraid I could not see my way to propose legislation on this question.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

When is it proposed to give Parliament an opportunity of discussing this matter?

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

Will the right hon. Gentleman make inquiries?

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

I am unable to say when Parliament will decide the matter, and representations ought to be made in another quarter.

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Wolverhampton West

Would the Home Secretary make representations to the Prime Minister, who has charge of the allocation of Parliamentary time, that Parliamentary time is being spent on issues of much less substantial importance than this, and that this should be looked into?

Photo of Mr Cyril Culverwell Mr Cyril Culverwell , Bristol West

What importance does the right hon. Gentleman attach to the recommendations of eight Members, of whom two are members of the Society of Friends?

Photo of Mr Rhys Davies Mr Rhys Davies , Westhoughton

22.

asked the Home Secretary whether the International Penitentiary Congress has at any time considered the question of capital punishment; and, if so, what conclusions were arrived at?

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

Any such inquiry should be addressed to the Secretary of the International Commission, but, so far as I know, capital punishment is not among the subjects which have been discussed at the International Congresses.

Photo of Mr Philip Oliver Mr Philip Oliver , Manchester, Blackley

26.

asked the Home Secretary how many persons have been executed in England and Wales since the report of the Select Committee on Capital Punishment was presented; and what were the respective ages of each?

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

The number is five, and their ages 21, 23, 26, 36 and 41.

Photo of Mr Walter Ayles Mr Walter Ayles , Bristol North

27.

asked the Home Secretary whether, in view of the fact that the Governments of the countries which have abolished capital punishment sent official witnesses to give evidence before the recent Select Committee as to their experience, he proposes to transmit to the Governments concerned a copy of the report and evidence of the Select Committee, together with a statement as to the steps which he proposes to take to give effect to the committee's recommendations?

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

This report and the evidence have been published and are thus available to any foreign Government that may desire to have them. It would be a departure from practice to send it unsolicited. As regards the last part of the question, I am not at present in a position to make any statement.

Photo of Mr Walter Ayles Mr Walter Ayles , Bristol North

Is the Minister aware that the Governments whose representatives came here went to a very great deal of trouble in order to assist the Committee in carrying out the desires of this House, and, even though the usual practice might be departed from, it would be an excellent departure to show the same courtesy to them as they showed to us?

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

I will consider the point, but there is the other view of the case that reports sent out contrary to international custom might not be welcomed.

Photo of Mr Peter Freeman Mr Peter Freeman , Breconshire and Radnorshire

31.

asked the Home Secretary how many persons have been sentenced to death in England and Wales since the report of the Select Committee on Capital Punishment was presented; how many of such persons have been executed; and how many were reprieved?

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

The number sentenced to death is 12. Four have been executed; two reprieved; the conviction of one was quashed on appeal; and in the remaining five cases a decision has not yet been reached.

Photo of Mr Peter Freeman Mr Peter Freeman , Breconshire and Radnorshire

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the strong body of public opinion which objects to this principle of an "eye for an eve and a head for a head"?

Photo of Mr Frank Griffith Mr Frank Griffith , Middlesbrough West

36.

asked the Home Secretary how many persons are included in the list kept by his Department of persons qualified to act as executioners; and how many of the persons included on that list have officiated during the last five years?

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

The number is seven and all have been employed in connection with executions during the last five years.

Photo of Mr Frank Griffith Mr Frank Griffith , Middlesbrough West

37.

asked the Home Secretary whether any change has been made in the rates of pay made to executioners and assistant executioners since the prison rules and standing orders, 1911, were issued; and, if so, in what respect the rates have been changed?

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

Persons employed by the Prison Commissioners as assistant executioners receive a fee of £3 3s. The fee paid in 1911 was £2 2s. Executioners are appointed and paid by the sheriffs with whom it rests to fix the amount of the payment.

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Wolverhampton West

Is it the intention to reduce the payment in accordance with the decline in the cost-of-living figure?

Photo of Mr John McShane Mr John McShane , Walsall

Would not the stoppage of this payment solve the question of capital punishment?

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

38.

asked the Home Secretary how many persons included on the list kept in his Department of persons qualified to act as executioners have been removed from the list during the last 10 years; and what were the reasons for which they were removed?

Photo of Mr John Clynes Mr John Clynes , Manchester Platting

Five names have been removed from the list, the usual reason being that owing to some change in his circumstances the man was no longer available for such employment.

Photo of Mr Frederick Cocks Mr Frederick Cocks , Broxtowe

Have any of these men gone mad?

Photo of Mr Francis Smith Mr Francis Smith , Nuneaton

49.

asked the Prime Minister whether, in view of the increasing volume of public opinion in support of the recommendations of the recent Select Committee on Capital Punishment, ho will say whether the House will be given an opportunity of discussing the recommendations in order that the House may have an opportunity to express its views?

Photo of Mr James Thomas Mr James Thomas , Derby

The Prime Minister can add nothing to the reply which he gave on the 9th June last in answer to a question by the hon. Member for Blackley (Mr. P. Oliver).

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Wolverhampton West

In view of the fact that, since the date of the reply referred to, the Prime Minister has announced that facilities will be given for the discussion of a Resolution to deprive Members of their salaries during suspension—

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

That does not arise out of the question.

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Wolverhampton West

The point I am trying to put—and I hope that I shall be able to put it in a form which is not out of order—is that since the earlier reply referred to the Prime Minister has announced that—[Interruption.] May I put my question?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

It has nothing to do with the question on the Paper.

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Wolverhampton West

On a point of Order. With great respect, I should like the end of the question to be heard, and the question which I am asking is whether, in view of the fact that the Prime Minister has announced since the date of that earlier reply that Parliamentary time will be occupied and facilities given—

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The hon. Member is trying to get into a supplementary question a statement which has nothing whatever to do with the question on the Paper.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

If the hon. Member wishes to raise a point of Order, I will listen to him.

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Wolverhampton West

My point of Order is that I made three attempts to get my question put.

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

The hon. Member must not, in a supplementary question, introduce something which is put of order as regards the question on the Paper.

Photo of Mr William Brown Mr William Brown , Wolverhampton West

May I ask how it can be known whether any question is out of order or is in order before it has been completed?

Photo of Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy Lieut-General Edward Fitzroy , Daventry

I heard the first part of the hon. Member's question.

Photo of Mr James Horrabin Mr James Horrabin , Peterborough

94.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many persons have been executed for each class of capital crime in Scotland since 1900?

Photo of Mr Joseph Westwood Mr Joseph Westwood , Peebles and Southern

19 persons have been executed in Scotland since 1900. All were convicted of murder.