Oral Answers to Questions — Prison Sentence for Mother

– in the House of Commons on 1st October 1942.

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Photo of Mr Oliver Locker-Lampson Mr Oliver Locker-Lampson , Birmingham Handsworth

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been drawn to the case of Phyllis Clifford, of Liverpool Road, Islington, aged 20, mother of a young baby, who was sentenced to three months' imprisonment for forging a cheque and has taken her baby to prison; and if he will consider remitting this sentence?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

The inquiries which I have made show that the statement in the Question about this woman's offence does not accurately describe the course of fraudulent conduct to which she pleaded guilty, and, while I fully appreciate the compassionate considerations which have prompted this Question, I am sorry to say that I can find no grounds on which I should be justified in advising the remission of any part of the sentence which the court thought it necessary to impose.

Photo of Mr Oliver Locker-Lampson Mr Oliver Locker-Lampson , Birmingham Handsworth

Does not this sentence compare very unfavourably with the lighter sentences given for far worse offences?

Photo of Mr Herbert Morrison Mr Herbert Morrison , Hackney South

It frequently happens under our system of local administration of justice that sentences vary, and, unless justice is completely centralised in the State, I do not see how it can be avoided. But in this case I do not think the sentence was out of proportion to the offence and the record of the woman concerned.