HC Deb 28 April 1948 vol 450 cc380-1
30. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what is now the position of those convicted of murder in the Colonies and non-self-governing Dependencies of this country.

Mr. Mayhew

The position remains unchanged. If the Criminal Justice Bill becomes law, it will not apply to the territories mentioned. The question whether or not to abolish the death penalty would be a matter for consideration by the local legislatures. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has explained that the action which he proposes to take with regard to the staying of executions is being taken because there is a prospect of the law of this country being amended during the current Session. The question of similar action in a colonial territory would only arise if and when a comparable situation were to occur.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Can my hon. Friend tell me, in the light of the recent decision by this House, whether it is proposed later on to initiate any consultations with the Governors of these Colonies and Dependencies with a view to giving them some guidance or lead from this country?

Mr. Mayhew

The first thing would be for the Criminal Justice Bill to become law. After that, I do not think it would be appropriate to commit my right hon. Friend to giving guidance. It might be appropriate for consultations to take place.

Mr. Ivor Thomas

May I take it that this Government will allow the Governors a free vote on this matter?

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