HC Deb 01 November 1913 vol 43 c727

In the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885, a reference to the age of sixteen years shall, where the reference is to the age of a girl, be construed as a reference to the age of eighteen years.


I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a second time."

The second of the three Amendments raises one of the most important questions that can be discussed—that is the age of consent. To many people indeed, interested in this subject, it is one of the most important aspects of the whole question. I do not intend to move my Amendment now, but I wish the House very earnestly to consider this fact, that in passing this Bill even in the strong form in which it was introduced, with any strengthening Amendments on Report, they are not dealing with all the aspects of the question. With regard to this special point of the age of consent, I freely admit that it should be well before the public mind and considered in all its bearings. In view of that fact I do not intend to move my Amendment now. I put it on the Paper to call the attention of the House to it, because of the real importance and urgency of this question, and of the very strong feeling and desire that there is in many quarters—especially I believe amongst women, and women public workers—that the Amendment I have suggested here should sooner or later, and sooner if possible, be brought into effect.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.