HC Deb 21 April 1955 vol 540 cc335-6
10. Mr. Crouch

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department the number of motorists found guilty of being drunk in charge or suffering from the effect of drugs in England and Wales in 1954; and the number sentenced to imprisonment.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I regret that all the information for which my hon. Friend asks is not yet available. The provisional figures show that in magistrates' courts in England and Wales there were, during the first nine months of 1954, 1,951 convictions of driving or being in charge of a motor vehicle while under the influence of drink or a drug. The number of resulting sentences of imprisonment was 112.

Mr. Crouch

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is a strong and growing body of opinion which thinks that when motorists are found guilty of being in charge of motor vehicles when drunk more of them should be put in prison and fewer of them fined, as a means of stopping this offence?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

I do not think that it is for me to comment upon the decisions of the courts.

Mr. Stokes

Would it not be a very good thing if the police received instructions that when they find a chap who is in charge of a car but cannot control it because of drink, they should take his licence away for life? That is what they ought to do.

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

It is not the police who are able to take away a motorist's licence.

Mr. G. Thomas

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a great deal of needless suffering is being caused through the selfishness of those people who take a car out upon the road when they are under the influence of drink? Is he further aware that the Home Office could give a lead to the country on this question?

Sir H. Lucas-Tooth

It is not the Home Office which tries these cases, as hon. Members know.