HC Deb 23 July 1908 vol 193 cc338-9
MR. BRODIE (Surrey, Reigate)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the fact that the ladies now in prison for making demonstrations against the Government are, in default of finding sureties, suffering a heavier penalty than could have been inflicted if they had actually been found guilty of sedition, in view of the fact that by the Prisons Act of 1898 a person imprisoned for sedition or seditious libel must be treated as a first-class misdemeanant; and whether, in view of this circumstance, he will recommend the transference from the second division to the first of the ladies now in prison on account of their having made political demonstrations.


Persons found guilty of sedition are liable to imprisonment for two years, and must by Statute be placed in the first division. As regards the prison treatment of these ladies, I must refer my hon. friend to my numerous previous Answers upon this subject.

MR. BYLES (Salford, N.)

asked the right hon. Gentleman if he did not think that the punishment was quite unsuited to the offence. Had he not power to "make the punishment fit the crime?"


I can add nothing to the Answer I have already given to the Question.


asked the reason for the different treatment of Dr. Jameson and his fellow offenders. They were treated as first-class misdemeanants, while these ladies, who had committed no crime whatever in comparison with these impure fellows, had to associate with ordinary criminals.


said he had already explained.

MR. T. M. HEALY (Louth, N.)

asked had not a sufficient time elapsed, had not the prisoners suffered enough, could not the right hon. Gentleman let them out?


said those who did not know the right hon. Gentleman would think him vindictive.


I am very sorry for it, but I cannot help it.