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Oral Answers to Questions — Homosexual Offences

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th July 1964.

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Photo of Sir John Hobson Sir John Hobson , Warwick and Leamington 12:00 am, 28th July 1964

The first point is that the proposal was not rejected previously. The position was that in previous Bills that were put forward, it was proposed that the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions should be needed for a prosecution. That is not now the position. Since 1958, the Director of Public Prosecutions has advised chief constables and asked them to consult him about stale cases of homosexual offences—namely, those more than 12 months old—and those in respect of which there is a blackmailing aspect. The new Director of Public Prosecutions, who took office in May, thought that, in addition, it would be more satisfactory, to obtain uniformity, if chief constables also consulted him on the cases of consenting adult males in private. This is all that has happened. I quite realise that some hon. Members would like to see the law changed, but I cannot change it by practice, and the duty of the Law Officers and of the Director of Public Prosecutions is to enforce the law.