HC Deb 30 December 1912 vol 46 cc11-2

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the sentences of two months' imprisonment with hard labour passed by the Marlborough Petty Sessions upon Mr. and Mrs. Hollister for neglecting their six children; whether the man was in steady work at a wage of 13s. a week in a rent-free cottage; whether they were living nine persons in one room with insufficient clothes and bedding; whether there was any complaint against the man and woman except that caused by poverty; and whether he can see his way to cancel the rest of the sentence and allow the parents to get back to their children and their labour?


I have made inquiry, and am informed by the magistrates that they were satisfied that the children's condition was not due to poverty, but to wilful neglect. The father was earning 13s. a week, and had a pension of 3s. as well as a cottage rent free. Both defendants were sent to prison about three years ago for a similar offence, and they were repeatedly warned by the inspector of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children before proceedings were taken in the present case. I regret that I have not found any sufficient grounds to justify me in advising any interference with the sentence.


Does my right hon. Friend think it possible for a man to keep a wife and six children on 13s. a week? Is he aware that there were nine persons sleeping in one room? Does he think it possible for people to keep decent under those conditions? Is it fair to deprive a man of his wife and children on these grounds?