HC Deb 06 June 1902 vol 109 cc11-28


Order for Third Reading read.

Motion made and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."—(Mr. Cameron Corbett.)

(12.12.) MR. GALLOWAY (Manchester, S.W.)

, in moving "That the Bill be recommitted for the purpose of inserting a penal provision," said: My hon. friend, and those associated with him in piloting this Bill so far through the House, may be congratulated by the House in having made what is an honest and real attempt to deal with one of the evils which haunt us. I hope the Bill will have a successful course, and before long become the law of the land. It will be within the recollection of the House that in the year 1898 the Government passed a Bill to deal with this same subject in England. That Bill has been of considerable use, and, as the Home Office figures show, has very largely assisted in putting down this evil. I have made some inquiries at the Home Office, and since the passing of this Act in 1898 the Returns show that in that year—and that was only a portion of the year—there were thirty-nine prosecutions under the Act, and thirty-three convictions; that in 1899 there were 104 prosecutions and eighty-one convictions; and that in the year 1900 there were sixty-two prosecutions and forty-nine convictions. There are no figures available later than 1900, as the Police Reports presented to this House, which are returned to the Home Office, are exceedingly dilatory in their arrival, and consequently it is impossible to get any figures up to date. Nor, Sir, are these figures satisfactory, as they should show what amount of punishment has been awarded in cases of conviction, since the amount of punishment is a point I wish to raise with regard to the Bill. I would like to remark, in passing, that it is somewhat interesting to notice that the right hon. Gentleman the Lord Advocate, when the English Act was before the House, in answer to a Question from an hon. Member on the other side, said it was not necessary for the Act to be extended; to Scotland, because in Scotland at that time the police had ample power with which to deal with this evil. It has been proved very conclusively that that is not the case. Whether the enforcement of the Act in England has led to the migration of those who commit this; abominable offence from England to Scotland, I am not prepared to say; but, I am glad to see that my hon. friend the Member for Peckham has put down a Motion to extend this Bill to Ireland, and if that is not carried today, I hope it will not be long before it is so extended.

This Bill is the outcome of the action taken by the Roman Catholic chaplain at the gaol in Glasgow, and we ought to bear our testimony to the zeal with which he has discharged his duty, and also to the newspaper which has brought to light the scandal of which he complained; and I think the Lord Advocate would do well if he made inquiries as to the manner in which the Discharged Prisoners' Aid Society does its work in Glasgow, because I feel it must do its work very badly if this has not been brought to his notice sooner. This is a class of crime of which he certainly ought to have had notice. The punishment provided in this Bill is only a portion of the punishment provided in the English Act, and my contention is that the punishment is entirely inadequate to the enormity of the offence. It is my belief that, if you are going to use this Act efficiently, you must give power to those in authority to give a very much larger punishment than laid down in this Act, namely, a punishment of three months imprisonment. This Bill is drawn exactly on the line of the English Act, except with regard to this particular section of the clause. This clause lays down that on conviction a prisoner may be sentenced by a Court of Summary Jurisdiction to a term of imprisonment, at the discretion of the Court, not exceeding three months with hard labour. The English Act says a prisoner shall be dealt with as under 5 George IV., Chap. 83, and under that Act he can be dealt with in two ways. Section 4 of that Act says— Every person committing any of the offences hereinbefore mentioned, and having been convicted as an idle, disorderly person, shall be deemed a rogue and vagabond, and it shall be lawful for any justice of the peace to commit such persons to a house of correction, there to be kept to hard labour for a period not exceeding three months. That is the way an offender can be dealt with for a first offence. But Section 5 lays down that if an offender has been convicted more than once he shall be treated as an incorrigible rogue, and Sub-section 10 points out the manner in which an incorrigible rogue can be dealt with. He can be sent from the Petty Sessional Court to Quarter Sessions, and there can be sent to hard labour for any time not exceeding one year, and the justices can order, if they think fit, that such offender—not being a female—shall be punished by whipping during such imprisonment. I think it is plain that the promoters of this Bill have left out of the punishment which may be awarded for this offence one of the strongest deterrents that possibly could be enacted. Do not let it be thought that this sub-section of the Act of 1824 was repeated in the Act of 1898 without the House being cognisant of the fact. Mr. Pickersgill, a late Member of this House, when the Bill was before the House, moved to exclude Section 10 from the operation of the Act. The Attorney General who was in charge of the Bill accepted the Amendment. The Bill then went to another place, and this sub-section with regard to whipping was re-inserted and retained, the right hon. Gentleman the Member for the Forest of Dean protesting at the time. This offence is one of the few, if we are going to retain flogging at all, for which flogging ought to be inflicted. Other offences for which flogging can be inflicted are of a minor character compared to this. I find under the Slaughter Houses Act a man can be whipped for offences in connection with the disposal of skins of horses and other animals. A man can be whipped for occupying premises without any visible means of support. A man can be flogged for leaving his wife and children without any means of support, and a man can be flogged for betting in a public place. I find under an old Act of William IV, that anyone sending any message or letter inciting to riot, and any person who inflicts any damage on cattle or flocks, can be flogged, and, under the Larceny Act, 1861, the Malicious Damage Act, 1861, and Section 4 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885, which is the strongest argument in my favour today, a man can be flogged. And, of course, Sir, there is flogging for garotting. I ask, whether any of the offences for which flogging is possible, and for which flogging is at this time inflicted, are as gross as the offence we are trying to deal with in this Act?

What are the arguments that can be used against it? So far as I have made a study of the question, I have found that there are only four kinds of argument. The first argument is that the punishment is brutal, and that if a mistake is made it cannot be rectified; secondly, that there is no uniformity in the inflicting of the penalty, because various judges take different views; thirdly, that it is not a deterrent, and, fourthly, that it degrades the prisoner without reforming him. With reference to the first objection, I am the last person in the world to say you ought to punish a brutal crime with a brutal punishment, but there are surely degrees of punishment. I can imagine crimes which are committed in the heat of passion or through drink, which are of the most revolting or brutal character, but for which I think it would be hard to inflict the severe penalty of flogging. In these cases it is possible that by flogging you may do away with what little chance there is of reform in the man's character. It may be that in some of these cases the man may have retained a vestige of self-respect, which you destroy by subjecting him to the indignity of Hogging. I remember the arguments used in the discussion on the Corporal Punishment Bill, and although the offences dealt with there were not so degrading as the offence dealt with in this Bill, and while I am quite ready to admit that if a mistake is made you commit an injustice you cannot recall, I should be quite willing, if my Motion is accepted, for the insertion of a clause providing that the punishment should only be inflicted when recommended by the jury and approved of by the judge. I am willing that every precaution should be taken that no miscarriage of justice should arise, but I do say some such punishment should be before the villain—I will not call him a man—who commits such crimes. With regard to the want of uniformity in the infliction of the penalty, because a man may be tried before those who take different views of flogging, I think that is deplorable. The Returns of the administration of the law in England from 1883 to 1889 show that Mr. Justice Day ordered 4,061 strokes with the cat; that Mr. Justice Grantham ordered 740 strokes; that some five or six other judges inflicted 500 lashes and downwards, while some judges inflicted none at all.


I think the hon. Member is going beyond the scope of his Motion in discussing the action of His Majesty's judges.


I was only trying to deal with the argument that the punishment, if inserted in the Bill, would not be uniform. As to the third contention, that it does not deter a person from committing crime, I submit that the other punishments in this Bill are not sufficient to effectually deter a man from committing the crime. The administration of the Act in England shows that the strengthening power of the law which enables flogging does act as a deterrent, and I think the effect of this Act will be largely lost if we do not insert some such clause as I suggest. Then it is said it degrades a man and does not reform him. I admit that on some persons the infliction of flogging may produce some salutary effect, while on others it may have quite the opposite effect. But is there anyone who can contend that such can be the case in offences of the kind with which we are dealing? We are dealing with an offence the most degrading in the social scale, and it is impossible to ask the House to believe that a man guilty of living on the proceeds of the prostitution of women can have any latent self-respect. It is because I believe that unless this clause is strengthened much of the effect of the measure will be lost, that I make my Motion. I do believe that the insertion of this clause would not in any way check the progress of this Bill. When the Government dealt with the matter in 1898, very little time was taken in the discussion of the Bill. It got through with very little opposition, and the strengthening of this clause would not in any way jeopardise the position of the Bill, it would be a very unfortunate circumstance if, in legislating for this crime, we should make it possible for a man who committed a crime in Scotland to receive less punishment than he would in England, because it would be putting a premium on crime in Scotland.

(12.40.) MR. H. C. RICHARDS (Finsbury, E.)

I beg, Sir, to second the Motion of my hon. friend. I am glad to see the Lord Advocate in his place, because I should like to know on what possible ground Scotland should be treated differently to our own country. It may have been suggested that the incorporation in this measure of the Vagrancy Act would bring opposition from the other side of the House, but I earnestly hope my hon. friend is a true reformer, and will not be frightened by any argument of that sort. It would be absurd to attempt to check a great moral wrong by inflicting a different punishment in Scotland to that imposed in England. If the Bill passes in its present form, we may have in another year an hon. Member moving the Government to make the laws equal by removing the flogging penalty from the English Act. One of the most distinguished men who ever sat in this House, the late Sir Charles Hall, sat for a number of years at the Old Bailey, as Recorder of London, administering the criminal law. Although he went there determined on no account to use the powers given him of ordering flogging, he found himself after a year's experience compelled to use those powers, and he did use them. The Common Sergeant, now Recorder, who was also a Member of this House, had a similar experience. I hope Members of this House who are in earnest in dealing with this great moral wrong will not forget that if this measure is passed into law with a different penalty in Scotland than in England, it will be the thin edge of the wedge for getting the law altered in England. It would be extraordinary, now that this has become public property, to deal with this offence less severely in Scotland than in England, so that these degraded persons who exist in large cities would only have to go north of the Tweed in order to carry on this infamous traffic. I hope the promoters of the Bill will accept our suggestion, and if it is accepted I can assure them they will have no more willing supporters than ourselves in seeing this measure passed into law.

Amendment proposed— To leave out all the words after the word 'be,' and add the word 're-committed.'"—(Mr. Galloway.)

Question proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question."

MR. CAMERON CORBETT (Glasgow, Tradeston)

My hon. friend has complained that the Vagrancy Act is not included in this Bill. Now, that English Act cannot be brought into the Scotch Bill. All we can do in legislating for Scotland on lines adopted in England is to follow the English precedent as much as possible. The English Bill of 1898 provided that these offenders should be treated as rogues and vagabonds, and the sentences on rogues and vagabonds was applied. It is quite true that in England rogues and vagabonds became by repeated offences incorrigible rogues and vagabonds, but if anyone follows that clause in the old Vagrancy Act he will find that, though it was quite possible to bring it into an English Bill by reference, it would be hardly possible to put in a new Bill many of those provisions which have become obsolete. The question therefore becomes whether Members are in favour of this Bill or not. If hon. Members want this class of offenders to be dealt with, then they will support the Bill. If on the other hand they wish to kill the Bill, they will support the Amendment.

MR. FLOWER (Bradford, W.)

I hope the promoters of this Bill will stand firm, because if the Amendment suggested by my hon. friend the Member for South-West Manchester is inserted in the Bill, the promoters will find themselves face to face with a considerable amount of opposition in this House and also in the country. My hon. friend quoted a large number of offences for which the punishment of flogging can be inflicted, in this country, but he forgot to state that there has been no case of flogging in Scotland at all, for the very good reason that under the Act of 1862 flogging of adult offenders was absolutely forbidden under the Scottish law. My hon. friend is trying to reintroduce into Scotland a form of punishment which is no longer in force in that country, and which, as a matter of fact, has not been employed in that country since 1833, when the last flogging sentence was pronounced. In common with a large number of Members, I personally believe we have too many flogging sentences in England, and I do not find, looking at the criminal records in Scotland, that the absence of this particular form of punishment in Scotland is responsible for any abnormal amount of crime. My hon. friend mentioned some of the arguments of those opposed to the practice of flogging, but I would only trouble the House with two opinions on the subject. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for East Fife, when dealing with this matter, referring to the time when garrotting was put down, denied that it was due to the infliction of flogging but attributed it to the fearless administration of the then existing criminal law, and the then Home Secretary, Sir Matthew White Ridley, agreed. I am very sorry my hon. friend has again raised this matter in the House. I can assure the House if they desire this Bill to pass into law they will do their best to resist this Amendment.

(12.50.) MR. T. P. O'CONNOR (Liverpool, Scotland)

I do not think the hon. Member for South-West Manchester quite appreciates that if this Amendment were carried the Bill might be defeated or indefinitely postponed. I know he does not contemplate that result. He spoke with frankness, and I have to say to him that several Members who have strong views about the question of flogging would find it necessary, if the Amendment were pressed, to offer the Bill not support but a vehement opposition. I do not know whether that opposition would be effective or not at this period of the session, but I think the hon. Member in charge of the Bill has been very well advised in resisting this proposal. I am very strongly in favour of the Bill, especially because my attention has been called to the way in which these pests of society have been enabled to live on the unfortunate women of my own nationality whose great poverty has compelled them to leave their own country to live exposed to the temptations of a great city like Glasgow. There has been a good deal of agitation on this question, largely due to the exertions of a clergyman of the Catholic Church and to articles in a Catholic paper. I do not know whether the Lord Advocate has read these articles or not. I may say I took care the hon. Member for South-West Manchester should get a copy. I do not think I have ever read more poignant details of the wretchedness of these unfortunate women, and the difficulties they find in emerging from the abyss when once they have descended. There is the case of a girl brought up before one of the Glasgow Police Courts for immorality. She was met by the clergyman, who offered to pay the fine, and if he had been allowed to pay the fine and secure the release of the woman he further offered to send her to one of the homes for fallen women. Undoubtedly the unfortunate woman was ready to accept this offer, but at the same time a man appeared, who offered to pay the fine instead. This man was no relative of the unfortunate woman, he was pleased to call himself her friend, but he should really have described himself as a contemptible ruffian who was living on prostitution. There was no means of dealing with this person, who was allowed to pay the fine and to take the girl to the very house where she had lived before her practices had brought her before the Court. The girl, on learning that the person was there, consented to go, remarking, however, that whenever she intended to do what was right someone always came in the way. This being my feeling in regard to the enormity of the offence, my hon. friend may ask why I do not support his Amendment. He has pointed out that this makes a distinction between the law of England and the law of Scotland, but that exists not merely in regard to this offence but in regard to all others. Flogging is not practised in the Scotch prisons, because Scotch public opinion will not tolerate it. Its abandonment is all to the advantage of Scotland, and shows a sound, healthy, and humane state of public opinion. I entirely accept all the arguments against flogging which the hon. Member used. I think it is a brutal punishment, a punishment in which there is no uniformity in the action of the judges; that it is a punishment that does not deter; that it degrades and does not reform. May I say I attach most importance to the second of these arguments. I am not alluding to any particular individuals when I say that on reading some of the sentiments expressed on the Bench I heartily re-echo the sentiment of John Bright that the first thing that ought to be done is to send a couple of judges to penal servitude for life. Another thing which I wish to point out is that it is foreshadowed that this Bill ought to be extended to Ireland. I believe the hon. Member for Peckham has a Motion on the Paper to this effect. Let me say quite frankly to the hon. Gentleman beforehand that if that Motion comes on I shall feel it to be my duty most strenuously to oppose it. I have the gravest apprehension of any proposal to confer on the police additional powers over what are moral rather than criminal offences. We have examples in foreign countries in regard to the action of agents de mœurs, which prove that under a despotic Government those agents of order use their powers for the purpose of blackmailing those who by legislation are placed in their power. I was struck by some statistics in regard to this matter in England. In 1899 there were 104 prosecutions and eighty-one convictions. I think that is an extraordinary gap between the number of convictions and the number of prosecutions. It means that no fewer than twenty-three people were taken up by the police and that the case was not made out against them. That is nearly twenty-five per cent. Anybody can see what an engine of oppression the proposal now before the House would be in the hands of an unprincipled police acting under an unprincipled Government. I ask the Lord Advocate not to yield to the proposal of the hon. Gentleman, and to stick to the Bill in its present shape.


Perhaps it would be for the convenience of the House that I should state how the matter strikes the Government. I entirely concur with what was said by the hon. Member for the Scotland Division as to our sympathy with the promoters of the Bill, and with the zeal of the newspaper that brought forward what it considered to be a great scandal. When I communicated with the Scotch office my noble friend the Secretary for Scotland was very anxious to do what he could to give a helping hand in the attainment of the objects in view. I need hardly tell the House that the Government was inclined to assume a friendly attitude towards a Private Member's Bill rather than to frame a Bill of its own. My hon. friend behind me was kind enough to show me his Bill, and I may say at once that the Government entirely approve of the way in which it is drawn. I should like to say one word of precaution in regard to the proposal now before the House. We were anxious that no stone should be left unturned in grappling with what we believe to be an evil, but I do not think that people should be too sanguine. The hon. Gentleman who has just sat down gave a narrative of the actual facts in connection with the case of an unfortunate woman who was sentenced by a Glasgow magistrate, and who would have had to undergo imprisonment for a police offence in the nature of soliciting had not her fine been immediately paid by a man. The conclusion come to was that this was done in order to bring the woman back to her former practices in order that he might profit by her mode of life. The hon. Member said quite truly that there is good intention as well as bad. However this may be, it seems better that we, at any rate, should have all the powers of an Act which, it is said, has had a good effect in England during the past few years. With regard to the Motion to recommit the Bill in order to insert the penalty of flogging, the hon. Member for South-West Manchester has all through assumed that it is perfectly certain you can flog for this offence in England, but I do not think that that is clear. It is not for me, of course, to decide these matters as affecting England, but I can tell him as a lawyer with a certain amount of experience that I do not think it is at all clear that it is allowed.


Perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will state what the Home Office thinks is the law.


I do not know about that. Until the point is decided it cannot be clear, and for this very good reason. The English Act directs that the person who is convicted should be deemed a rogue and vagabond within the meaning of the Vagrancy Act of 1824, and dealt with accordingly, but when you go to that Act you will find that the "rogue and vagabond" is quite a different person from the "incorrigible rogue and vagabond" who can be whipped. In this House, for instance, if an hon. Member obstructs once he is an obstructionist, but if he does it twice he may be regarded as an incorrigible obstructionist. But that really does not help us to a decision on the matter, for a Bill has been passed amending the Vagrancy Act of 1824. Under that amending Act so much of Section 10 of the Vagrancy Act, as relates to the punishment of whipping, is repealed. The House will at once see that this leaves the point absolutely un touched. When you say that a person, convicted of the offence referred to in this Bill, should be treated as a rogue and vagabond, does that mean that he is to be treated, not only as a "rogue and vagabond," but also as an "incorrigible rogue and vagabond"? It is perfectly true, as has been said by my hon. friend behind me, that there is a Scotch statute which abolishes the punishment of whipping adults for offences against the person and property. In Scotland flogging was only a penalty at common law, and not resting upon statute at all. Of course, the power of whipping juvenile offenders is one that still exists in Scotland, and, personally, I think it ought to be used even more than it is. But the law being as it is, and the whipping of adults for offences against the person and property having been abolished in Scotland, surely it would be very curious to make an exception for this particular offence, which, though I throw no doubt on the miserable nature of the persons who commit it, is not, perhaps, for brutality comparable to other offences which may be directed against the person, and which at the present moment are not punished by whipping. I therefore think that my hon. friend was well advised when he put the Bill in this way, and I could not give any countenance to the re-committal of the Bill in order to introduce a clause which I do not think would square with our criminal system as it at present stands.

(1.12.) MR. HEMPHILL (Tyrone, N.)

said he would certainly oppose the Bill if the mover of it accepted the Amendment proposed by the hon. Member for South West Manchester. He took the same view of the law as that expressed by the Lord Advocate. He altogether objected to extending the penalty of flogging. The tendency of all modern legislation was against it. It was found that it acted not as a deterrent, but, on the contrary, that it brutalised the offender without doing, any good to society. It will be in the recollection of some hon. Members that two years ago an attempt was made to extend the penalty of flogging in the case of juvenile offenders, but the Bill was thrown out on Second Reading, although it was very ably supported by most experienced Members sitting on the opposite side of the House. The whole argument of the hon. Member, who is so anxious to have this reactionary Amendment introduced into a very useful Bill, is that the offence is an atrocious one. We are all agreed on that; but surely there are many atrocious offences, both according to the law of England and Scotland, for which the penalty of flogging has been abolished. The only one in which that penalty has been retained for adults is where great personal violence has been used, such as in garroting, but the Act inflicting the cat for that crime was carried during a panic in London, although I believe that it was not that Act which operated in putting down garroting. The crime in this case, though an atrocious one, is not a crime of personal violence, but a sordid one, obnoxious to the moral and social sentiment of the community, and I trust that the promoters of the Bill will not accede to the suggestion of the hon. Member, and that the Bill will be carried to a Third Beading without any Amendment.

MR. VICARY GIBBS (Hertfordshire, St. Albans)

I venture to appeal to the hon. Member for South West Manchester to withdraw his Amendment for the re-committal of the Bill. I may do so the more readily because my views on the subject of flogging are more in accord with his than those of the last speaker. I sympathise with him in his desire to retain, and even increase, the punishment of flogging. I voted for the Juvenile Offenders Bill a few years ago. I have no hesitation in saying that it is the crime which is the degradation of the man, and not the punishment; and on that account I feel very strongly that the punishment of flogging ought to be preserved in many cases. I am not very sure, however, that those men who live upon the earnings of women are specially fitted for such a punishment. Genuine cases of rape or brutal violence will be more suitable for flogging, than for the sordid and despicable offence which these men commit. It is not a brutal, violent offence, and therefore not suited for a violent punishment. I would take exception to the tone of the promotor of the measure who seemed to suggest that any hon. Member who supported this Amendment was not sincerely desirous of seeing these men punished. I think it was a pity for the hon. Member to adopt that tone. My hon. friend the Member for South-West Manchester is as anxious to see these men punished as any one, and he brought forward his Amendment in no spirit of hostility to or from a lukewarm feeling for the Bill. There is this to be said; Scotland, rightly or wrongly, has pronounced against adult punishment with the cat; and I think it would be a mistake for us to go counter to the express wishes of that country. It is on that account that I feel myself unable to support my hon. friend in his Amendment. The hon. Member for the Scotland Division stated that a number of innocent men had been prosecuted for this offence, but my hon. friend surely allowed his imagination to run away with him when he drew a sort of picture of a Government being so corrupt as to bring against their political opponents a charge of being pimps, and having them convicted under this clause although they were innocent and God-fearing men. That is too absurd, and quite impossible to realise. I think the English Act made it perfectly clear that these men were to be dealt with as they had been under the Act of 1824—that is, if they were twice convicted they should be liable to the cat. I am very desirous of seeing dangerous offences to the community still punished with the cat, but I should not like to see it used as a punishment for incorrigible obstruction in this House, for that would bring men for whom I have a great regard under it.

(1.20.) MR. BANBURY (Camberwell, Peckham)

I quite agree with my right hon. friend in saying that the hon. Member for Glasgow was a little unjust to the hon. Member for South-West Manchester when he stated that in moving the Amendment he wished to kill the Bill. The fact that the Bill has gone through all its stages after midnight shows that there has been no desire to wreck it. The Lord Advocate has cast some doubt as to whether the punishment of flogging is allowable under the English Act. He has not said it is not so, and therefore I am inclined to think so; but in order to administer the punishment of flogging, the offender must have been twice convicted. After listening with great interest to the speech of the hon. Member for Scotland Division I must say that the case he told us about seemed to show that the punishment of three months imprisonment did not act as a deterrent. Undoubtedly, these men led a very easy and lucrative life by committing this offence, and the punishment of three months imprisonment is not sufficiently deterrent. The ease mentioned by the hon. Member for Scotland Division was very sad, where a woman who was anxious to change her mode of life was yet so much in the power of a man with whom she lived that she was compelled to go back to her old career. I think if this man was convicted of the same offence on a second occasion it would not be wrong to inflict upon him the punishment of flogging. There is another point. How is it that, if this punishment is so much objected to, it was not opposed when the English Bill came back to this House from the House of Lords? The Bill went up to the House of Lords without the punishment of flogging in it, but it came back with the Clause empowering flogging, and no one raised the slightest objection to it. † I do not see why † In (4) Debates, lxiv., 748, there is reported a discussion on the consideration of the Lords' Amendments. A division was taken on a motion to postpone their consideration for three months; another division was taken on the Lords' Amendment to leave out the clause repealing the (logging section of the Act of 1824.—[ED.] England should be treated differently from Scotland. I hope that in the event of the Amendment of my hon. friend being carried the Government will give facilities for passing the Bill in its later stages.


In asking leave to withdraw my Amendment, may I be allowed to repudiate the charge which my hon. friend the Member for the Scotland Division made, that I was endeavouring by moving the Amendment to kill the Bill, because I wished this horrible crime not to be punished. In the course of my speech, I stated as clearly as I could that I desired that the Bill should be carried in its present form, rather than risk its loss by insisting on the punishment of flogging.

Question put, "That the Amendment by leave be withdrawn."

Leave having been refused, the Question "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Question," was put and agreed to.

Main Question again proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."

(1.27.) MR. CALDWELL (Lanarkshire, Mid)

said he wished to raise one or two points before the Bill was read a third time. The first clause said that— Every male person who knowingly lived wholly, or in part, on the earnings of prostitution, or in any public place persistently solicited or importuned for immoral purposes, should be guilty of a crime and offence. The question he wanted to ask the Lord Advocate was, "Was not this a crime at the present moment according to the law of Scotland?" Why should it in the face of this Bill, and at this time of day be made to appear that this was a new crime altogether? He had another point. Sub-section 2 of Clause 1 said that— If it was made to appear to a Court of Summary Jurisdiction, by information on oath, that there was reason to suspect that any house or any part of a house was used by a female for purposes of prostitution, and that any male person residing in or frequenting the house was living wholly or in part on the earnings of the prostitute, the Court might issue a warrant authorising any constable to enter and search the house and to arrest that male person. That was to say that the male person must be living in the house where the traffic was carried on. But suppose the traffic was not carried on in the house where the male person lived, but elsewhere, why should not power be given to enter the house in which the man resided? He asked why this special power to enter the house and apprehend the man was retained. He thought this special power was not needed in Scotland, and if it was not needed it had better not be put into the Bill. The Bill did not go far enough, because the next point was that, though you were able to apprehend a man for living on the proceeds of this immoral traffic, no steps were taken to put a stop to the traffic. So far as he knew, there was ample provision in the law for making this offence impossible. It seemed to him that the Bill should have gone further: it should not only have given power to apprehend the man, but also to order the house to be shut. He approved of the Bill so far as it went. He thought that a Bill of this sort was not so necessary for Scotland as for England. But if it were necessary, then it should have been carried a good deal further.


said the hon. Member had asked whether the offence in Sub-section B was not already a crime according to the law of Scotland. Undoubtedly it was not. It might be an indictable offence, but even then he should hesitate to say whether the offence of "solicitation" in the police statutes was not always so phrased as to apply only to females, and not to men.


said he presumed he should be in order on the Third Reading to say a few words on the scope of the Bill, and to discuss the question of its application to other parts of the country.


I think it would not be in order to discuss the desirability of applying the Bill to England or Ireland.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill read the third time and passed.