HC Deb 04 May 1908 vol 187 c1656
MR. CLYNES (Manchester, N.E.)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has called for and received a Report concerning the imprisonment, on a charge of conspiracy, of a number of leaders of the unemployed in Manchester; and, if so, whether he can now state if he is able to take steps to release the men or reduce the sentences.


I have carefully considered these cases. I must point out that deliberate conspiracy to do damage, such as this was, differs widely from the ordinary case of window breaking by a tramp in order to secure a few nights lodging in prison. The case of Thompson is different from the others, but he was not convicted of conspiracy, and was sentenced to twelve months only in order that he might have the benefits of the special Borstal treatment. I regret that I see no reason for interference in any of the cases.


Did the right hon. Gentleman in considering these cases take into account the fact that the witness on whose evidence the accused were mainly convicted, had himself been in prison twenty-four times?


Yes, I took that into careful consideration, and I am satisfied that the Judge and jury also took it into consideration.

MR. LUPTON (Lincolnshire, Sleaford)

Is it the fact that these men were sentenced to twelve months imprisonment for breaking one window?


They were sentenced for conspiracy.


Did they conspire to, break one window?


They broke a window of the value of £100.