HC Deb 16 April 1959 vol 603 c1124
23. Mr. Osborne

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if, in view of the increase in the number of murders, he will introduce legislation at once restoring hanging as a punishment for such crimes committed on women, children, and old people.

Mr. R. A. Butler

The number of homicides fluctuates from month to month and from year to year, and while not underestimating the repugnance at these crimes I do not think that any significant increase is occurring. The monthly average of offences originally recorded by the police as murder in the six months September, 1958—February, 1959, was 141 compared with a monthly average of 142 for the five years 195256. I therefore cannot accept my hon. Friend's suggestion.

Mr. Osborne

Is not my right hon. Friend aware that a little girl of 12[HON. MEMBERS: " Oh."] It is not " Oh " to my people; they do not think it funny—has been violated and murdered and that only eight weeks earlier another child of 8 was murdered in similar circumstances? Does my right hon. Friend realize that mothers of children like that feel that hanging is too good for men who commit such crimes and that my right hon. Friend is expected to do something about it, no matter what the " softies " opposite may feel?

Mr. Butler

I know a great deal about this. first, because of personal reports made to me from Lincolnshire, and, secondly, because my hon. Friend came to me and gave me a full account yesterday. Of course. I am utterly disgusted by these crimes just as much as my hon. Friend, but to say that this House can reform the law relating to homicide in this Session and go through all we did to reach compromise in this Act is not, in my view, practical politics.