HC Deb 16 July 1953 vol 517 cc2220-1
5. Mr. Hector Hughes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will now implement, in whole or in part, the recommendations of the committee presided over by the late Lord Atkin, which considered the law, practice and procedure relating to criminal trials in which the plea of insanity as a defence is raised.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I propose to await the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment, who will, I understand, deal in their Report with the questions previously examined by the committee referred to.

Mr. Hughes

Would not the right hon. and learned Gentleman agree that recent events have raised new problems where insanity is concerned for which there may be new solutions in view of the advances of science? Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman take that into account in considering whether there should be a further inquiry and report on those lines?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I will certainly take the point into account. This is a matter on which one must always keep an open mind for developments. It would be wise, as we have only to wait a fortnight for the Report and a month for the publication, to see the Report, when perhaps we could consider more particularly the point which the hon. and learned Gentleman raises.