HC Deb 30 March 1936 vol 310 cc1619-20
39. Mr. THURTLE.

asked the Home Secretary whether his attention has been called to the recent case at the Old Bailey in which a widow was sentenced to death for the murder of her eight-year-old daughter, and to the remarks made by the judge regarding the nature of the case; and whether he will give consideration to the possibility of introducing a modification of the existing law which will absolve a judge from the necessity of pronouncing the death sentence, and of going through the ritual connected therewith, in cases where such a sentence is repugnant to general public feeling?


I am aware of the circumstances of the case to which the hon. Member refers. The point which he raises is not one that can conveniently be discussed in answer to a Parliamentary question, and I can only say that the possibility of some modification of the law in the sense suggested has often been considered, but it has been found impracticable.


Will the hon. Gentleman convey to his right hon. Friend the fact that there is very strong public feeling on this matter, and urge him to see whether it is not possible to make some modification of the law?


Certainly, but those who have gone into this matter in the past, with the best will in the world, have found that the more they have gone into it the greater has appeared the difficulty.


Will the hon. Member ask his right hon. Friend to go into this matter? Seeing that he has broken all precedent by the rapid manner in which he dealt with this matter, for which everybody is grateful, may I ask the hon. Member to ask his right hon. Friend to approach this question in the same spirit?


Will the Government take into account and into serious consideration the recommendation of the Committee on Capital Punishment, which dealt with this whole matter?