HC Deb 27 July 1950 vol 478 cc684-5
48. Sir Jocelyn Lucas

asked the Prime Minister if, in view of recent occurrences, he will introduce the death penalty for sabotage where the interests of the nation are involved; and if he will state the present maximum penalty.

The Prime Minister

No, Sir. Acts of sabotage may be offences under a number of different statutes and the penalty depends on the nature of the offence. Offences of a serious nature are punishable by long terms of imprisonment and the penalty for offences under the Dockyards etc. Protection Act, 1772, is death.

Mr. David Renton

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some of these offences are offences of felony and that if people are killed while these offences are being committed, the people committing felony are guilty of constructive murder? Will he make it known that such people would therefore render themselves liable to the death penalty?

The Prime Minister

No doubt the statement of the hon. Member will be noted.

Sir J. Lucas

In view of the fact that the recent explosion in Portsmouth avoided loss of life only by the greatest good luck, will the Prime Minister see that prosecution takes place under the appropriate Act where possible, to ensure that the maximum penalty ensues?

The Prime Minister

The penalty depends on the decision of the judge, but I can assure the hon. Member that if the perpetrators of this act were apprehended, they would be prosecuted with the utmost rigour of the law.