HC Deb 08 December 1955 vol 547 cc526-7
2. Mr. Younger

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Government propose to implement the unanimous recommendation of the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment that the doctrine of constructive malice in English law should be abolished.

Major Lloyd-George

The Royal Commission, although recommending that the doctrine of constructive malice in English law should be abolished, said "the practical effect of the doctrine of constructive malice at the present day is very limited and we cannot think that its abolition would lead to any striking change in the practice of the courts." This recommendation will, however, be considered when some prospect of legislation on the subject can be seen.

Mr. Younger

Cannot the Home Secretary tell us a little more about his intentions in these matters? Does he realise that this is one more in the long list of negative answers which he has been returning to hon. Members on both sides of the House on numerous recommendations, very often unanimous, both by this Royal Commission and the Royal Commission on Betting, Lotteries and Gaming? Is he aware that the comments in the newspapers on his unconstructive attitude to the work of his Department is now becoming more widespread? Is he content to allow that to continue?

Major Lloyd-George

Frankly, I am not worried by what the newspapers say, and I do not accept what the right hon. Gentleman has said about unanimous recommendations. There was division about this recommendation. Some people, including some legal witnesses, thought, as this particular doctrine for all practical purposes was dead, that we might as well treat it as dead; others said that in that case we might as well abolish it; but there was no unanimity.