HC Deb 15 July 1873 vol 217 cc459-60

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a Select Committee be appointed to consider what changes it is desirable to make in the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1871."(— (MR. Auberon Herbert.)


opposed the Motion as one to which it would be impossible to give effect at the present late period of the Session, and pointed out that in the metropolitan district only eight persons had been convicted under the Act during the past year, adding that it did not operate in the case of the working classes with that exceptional severity which some appeared to suppose. Magistrates were becoming more familiar with its interpretation, and their decisions were much less severe than they had been at first. Under all the circumstances, he could not accede to his hon. Friend's Motion.


said, that the effect of the Act had been to produce heart-burning and a sense of injustice wherever it was put in operation. In many cases its penalties had fallen outside its intended circuit—the Chipping Norton case, for example, where women had been sent needlessly to prison. He thought the Government would have done well to grant the inquiry.


concurred in what had been said by the last speaker, and supported the Motion for an inquiry.


defended the Act, and was glad that the Government had resisted the Motion for inquiry.


regretted that the Government had not assented to the Motion, and said that unless they promised an inquiry early next Session, he should insist on the House going to a division on the question.

Question put.

The House divided:—Ayes 35; Noes 39: Majority 4.