HC Deb 08 December 1955 vol 547 cc537-8
16. Mr. Burden

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will consider introducing legislation on the lines of that successfully tried in Victoria, Australia, under which individuals habitually consorting with convicted criminals were liable to arrest and punishment.

Major Lloyd-George

No, Sir.

Mr. Burden

While agreeing that the liberty of the subject must be jealously preserved, would not my right hon. and gallant Friend agree that where known criminals consort together on race courses and in other places in order to create trouble, it would be a good thing were some action to be taken?

Major Lloyd-George

I do not think that would meet with much support in this House. It is quite contrary to our legal system. So far as I understand it, apparently it would be up to a man who is consorting to prove that his consorting was innocent. A father might be consorting with his son who had just been released from prison, and he would have to prove that the consorting was innocent. I do not think that idea would be very acceptable in this country.