Corporal Punishment

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 18 January 1996.

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Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham , North West Norfolk 12:00, 18 January 1996

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans he has for reintroducing corporal punishment; and if he will make a statement. [7854]

Photo of Mr Timothy Kirkhope Mr Timothy Kirkhope The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

We have no such plans. I am afraid that we are not satisfied that corporal punishment would be useful in practice.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham , North West Norfolk

Is my hon. Friend aware that many people who were previously opposed to corporal punishment, including Members of Parliament such as me, are appalled at the growing number of crimes committed against elderly people? Is he aware that, in my constituency, a residential home was recently broken into by a young thug? Not content with burgling an old lady of 90, he beat her up. Is it not time that such wicked criminals were given a taste of their own medicine? Will my hon. Friend undertake to set up an inquiry or a commission to investigate whether corporal punishment would be a deterrent and make our streets and communities safer?

Photo of Mr Timothy Kirkhope Mr Timothy Kirkhope The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

I think that we are all sickened to hear the example of gratuitous and sadistic violence to which my hon. Friend referred. I know that he will want to support the Government in their determination to curb such crime. I am sure that he will want to support the proposals that we are bringing forward in our White Paper, such as automatic life sentences for two serious examples of violent crime. It is in that way that we will be able to curb such disgraceful crimes.