HC Deb 23 July 1963 vol 681 cc1351-65
Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir William Anstruther-Gray)

The next Amendment is that in page 2, line 9.

Lady Tweedsmuir

I was hoping that this Amendment would be moved by another hon. Member, but I am quite willing to move it myself. Therefore, I beg to move, in page 2, line 9. to leave out from "jurisdiction" to "imposes" in line 10.

I do not think there is any point in speaking at length on this Amendment. In Committee, I explained the reasons for the Government's doubts as to whether it was necessary to apply the requirements of Clause 1(3) to summary courts with legally qualified judges since, with their legal training, they would be aware of and would apply the requirements of Clause 1(1). We took the view that it was unnecessary, but not harmful.

I took account of the strength of feeling undoubtedly shown in Committee that this additional safeguard against unnecessary use of sentences of detention should apply to all summary courts, and I undertook to convey this feeling to my right hon. Friend. As a result, this Amendment appears on the Notice Paper.

Mr. Ross

If the Secretary of State will meddle with legislation and put his name to an Amendment then he must pay the penalty of his name being at the top of the list of right hon. and hon. Members sponsoring the Amendment, as is the case here. It would have been far better if the hon. Lady could have served us an element of surprise by being generous enough to accept an Amendment in these terms moved from this side of the House.

I want merely on behalf of my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Central (Mr. McInnes), who has asked me to apologise for the fact that he cannot be here at this moment—he has been here until the last few minutes—to thank the Government for their acceptance of the essence of the Amendment which he put forward in Committee. It did not originate there. I mentioned earlier that when he was sitting on this side of the House, Walter Elliot put forward this idea to the Labour Government in 1949, and the Labour Government turned it down.

I have always felt that if we are to lay an obligation upon persons to state their reasons for ignoring Parliament's advice about the treatment of offenders and, despite all the alternatives put before them, to insist on sending such offenders to detention, in other words, to prison, all of them should have to state their reasons. But there is no reason why we should single out magistrates and tell them that if they send a person to detention, they must give a reason, while at the same time we say to a stipendiary magistrate or a sheriff that if he does so, he need not give his reasons. The fallibility and reliability, on balance, is about equal in both cases.

We think that the obligation is worth while for it makes sure that such people will hesitate before passing over the alternative sentences, and we should lay it upon them all. I do not believe that sheriffs will be terribly worried about what we are asking them to do. It has been suggested that they might write a sort of offhand note. I sincerely hope that that will not be the case. I sincerely hope that the Scottish Office and the Lord Advocate—we have stopped deploring his absence or congratulating ourselves upon it—will take note of the reasons given by sheriffs as well as others for insisting on sending a young person to detention despite the alternatives which we have offered. "Detention" is the wrong word, and it is really a custodial sentence, because "detention" now has a specialised connotation. I hope that this will not be done merely as a matter of form and that attention will be paid to Parliament's desires and the conviction of public opinion that young people should be treated in such a way as to prevent their intimacy with prison life as far as possible, because of the effect that that will have and the likelihood, as has been proved in many cases, that such familiarity will breed contempt for the law and that the element of deterrence will disappear with familiarity.

I am very glad that the hon. Lady has seen fit to accept the Amendment. I hope that it will prove beneficial and will have the effect originally desired in 1949.

Amendment agreed to.


Mr. Ross

I beg to move, in page 2, line 31, after "provide", to insert: outwith and apart from adult prisons". The Clause lays it down that the Secretary of State shall provide such young offenders' institutions as appear to him to be necessary. This is the new alternative form of custodial sentence for young people of the required age.

I was shocked, as were many others, when we discovered the Government's intentions about meeting their obligation in this respect. The first new young offenders institution was to be the old prison at Dumfries. The second was to be at Edinburgh in a hall which was part of the prison, but which was somehow to be segregated from the rest of the prison. Then we learned that girls were to go to Greenock, again to part of Greenock Prison.

The S.A.C.T.O. Report on Custodial Sentences for Young Offenders—other than sentences of detention in a centre or borstal—was very firm on this issue and that makes the Amendment all the more necessary. Paragraph 65 of that Report says: Fundamental to our recommendations is an institution to which all young persons on whom a custodial sentence is imposed, other than detention in a centre or a borstal sentence"— that is what we are calling young offenders institutions— could be sent direct from the courts. In existing Scottish prisons as we have seen them it is simply not possible to keep a group of young offenders apart from adult prisoners and at the same time provide the conditions, for work, education and recreation, in which youths should be detained. It may indeed be possible to provide conditions in which there is no physical contact between the group of young offenders and adult prisoners, but if the latter are within sight or hearing of the youths there is not effective segregation. We regard it as very important that no young offender, including a young offender who has defaulted on the payment of a fine, should ever be detained inside a prison for adults. That was the view of S.A.C.T.O. and also of the Standing Committee, which welcomed the young offenders institutions but which was horrified when it learned what was to happen. I remember the hon. Lady the Member for Renfrew, East (Miss Harvie Anderson) appealing to the noble Lady and saying that Greenock was an adult prison with a borstal which was now to be a young offenders institution and suggesting that the authorities should go outside the prison gates and use the governor's house as a young offenders institution.

If anything has been brought out in our consideration of the Bill it has been the Government's failure to implement what were regarded as advances in penal treatment as long ago as the legislation of1949. It is no good saying that we must have remand homes if we do not get remand homes. It is no good saying let us have detention centres if we have none. Now we are to get makeshift young offenders institutions. How long will it be before we get rid of these makeshift arrangements and have institutions which are related to the job to be done and which S.A.C.T.O. says are essential?

It is important to start off on the right foot, and the Amendment is therefore of particular importance. When S.A.C.T.O. said that it did not want young offenders to mix with adult prisoners, it meant it. When, after a careful examination of the problem, it said that there could not be effective segregation within one building, it meant it, and it said this not only in respect of young men but in respect of girls too. The Council said that the borstal should not be situated in Greenock, but here we are to have an adult prison, a borstal, and a young offenders institution in one place. What an achievement. This is centralisation made perfect!

I suppose we shall be asked to accept this provision in the Bill on the basis that it is administratively convenient and will save staff. I hope that we shall not be told that only a few people are concerned, because, if only a few people are concerned it should be possible to make alternative arrangements such as were suggested by my hon. Friends and by the hon. Lady the Member for Renfrew, East. I hope that the hon. Lady the Under-Secretary of State has looked at this Amendment and appreciates what prompted it. It was tabled because of her disclosures, and if she wants to ease our concern she should accept the Amendment.

8.30 p.m.

Lady Tweedsmuir

I appreciated the reason behind the Amendment very clearly, because I had sought to give the Committee as much information as I could about the arrangements that we are trying to make for young offenders institutions. From the debates that we have had on buildings in other contexts the hon. Gentleman knows that it is impossible suddenly to switch from one building arrangement to another, and if we want to get these young offenders institutions under way we shall have to make use of Dumfries in particular.

I wish to speak about both Dumfries and Saughton. I agree with the hon. Gentleman that the accommodation we are providing for young offenders should be kept separate from the ordinary establishments for adult offenders and we hope to achieve this in our plan for the young offenders institution at Dumfries and also at Saughton. To provide the new accommodation as quickly as possible we are going to convert some of the existing buildings rather than build new ones. The main young offenders institution is to be in what is now Dumfries Borstal Institution, and we are also proposing to provide accommodation in a separate hall at Edinburgh Prison.

At both places young offenders will be separate from any older ones. At Dumfries there will be a few cells that are close to, but completely separate from, the young offenders institution for adult untried offenders to be dealt with by local courts. They will not have any contact at all with the young offenders in the main part of the building. Similarly, at Saughton the hall for young offenders will be administered separately from the main prison and young offenders will have no contact with ordinary prisoners. There will be separate workshops and recreation facilities for young offenders, and they will have their meals in their own quarters.

All the office and administrative work of the institution will be carried out in premises that are attached to it. I therefore think that in practice the object of the Amendment will be achieved, but I am afraid that I cannot advise the House to accept it, because, although the accommodation for young offenders at Saughton will be "apart from" the adult prison, I do not think that one could say that it is "out with" the prison, and for this reason I am afraid that I cannot accept the Amendment.

As regards the arrangements for women young offenders—a point which I think was brought to my attention in earlier debates by my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, East (Miss Harvie Anderson)—it is true that there will be only a few of them. The hon. Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) said that because there were a few of them it might be possible to deal with them in some other way, but for the moment they will be at Greenock, where they will be separated from the prisoners. Therefore, although part of the Amendment is acceptable, I am afraid that "out with" is not.

Mr. Ross

Does that mean that the hon. Lady does not accept all that was said by S.A.C.T.O. in respect of the provision of separate accommodation, and does she not accept what the Council referred to as the danger in the inability to get segregation within one building?

Lady Tweedsmuir

I accept the desirability of what S.A.C.T.O. recommended. I sought to show just now that there will be segregation from adult prisons. A much greater and more difficult question is segregation, within these institutions, of different types of offender.

Mr. Willis

That is a shocking answer. I appreciate that the hon. Lady has made the best of a bad job, but this is a bad job. Here we are starting something new on entirely the wrong foot. We are putting these young offenders into institutions, which we are told should be separate from prisons—and all our discussions have indicated that everyone wants this—and the Government say "We are incapable of providing this separate accommodation".

Is it not a shocking confession of ineptitude and incompetence on the part of a Government to tell us that they cannot put up a building for girls and two buildings for boys, but that we have to use part of Saughton Prison? I fear that having once got them there they will stay there, and that we shall be fobbed off for years to come with the answer, "We have not yet found time," or, "It has not been convenient," or, "We have not the necessary labour," or something of that sort. With about 90,000 unemployed men and, goodness knows, plenty of material—we can easily make all the bricks we want in Scotland—everybody in Scotland will wonder why this cannot be done. We have all this unused labour and material, but we cannot supply the things we need.

Is not there something wrong with a Government who have to admit this? I am deeply shocked that the hon. Lady should have to make the deplorable and rather pathetic confession that we must put the girls in part of Greenock Prison and the boys in Saughton and Dumfries. That is not a new start. That is not applying something new to our treatment of young offenders. We are getting off on the wrong foot altogether. I would rather see this provision delayed for a year in order that we could have established separate institutions.

We shall spend as much time, energy and money on making alterations to this accommodation as, in the long run, would be required to provide new quarters. I hope that my hon. Friends will press the Amendment to a Division to show how strongly we feel about it.

Mr. Dempsey

I cannot allow the noble Lady's statement to go unchallenged. She has shown the most callous attitude that I have ever seen adopted towards the problem of dealing with youthful offenders. If she had had any practical experience of dealing with this problem she might have adopted a more generous and understanding attitude.

It is almost impossible to have complete segregation within our prisons. I have seen young offenders marching in prison yards, doing their drill, going off to work and coming back side by side with habitual criminals and even the worst type of murderer. The reason has been the shortage of accommodation. This is no new problem. It has always been the problem in Scotland. There has been a consistent refusal by the Government to build when they were asked to build, and a bungling in their handling of the financial arrangements for prisons, time after time. Appeal after appeal was made to get on with the erection of new buildings so as to get these young people out of the adult prisons and to provide them with complete segregation, taking them away from the horrible atmosphere of adult prisons and giving them a chance to reform. We have appealed time after time, and we have received the same cold and callous answer as that which we have just heard from the Undersecretary at the Dispatch Box.

One can realise what will happen when young offenders are in such a prison. I say to the Under-Secretary that it is impossible to maintain that there will be no contact between these youthful offenders and adult prisoners. The youthful offenders will learn the tricks of the trade from the habitual criminals and the art of obtaining illicit goods through the windows of their cells, just as is done by the adult prisoners. This cannot be avoided if young people are in the same building, and it can be achieved through the strangest of ways.

As a visiting magistrate I have had the unpleasant task of interviewing such prisoners and disciplining them. I am shocked that young girls and youthful offenders should be going to Greenock Prison. Has the noble Lady made a random visit to Greenock and interviewed the type of women who are prisoners there? I have done so on more than one occasion. I used to believe that the immortal bard Robert Burns was right when he upbraided the gentle sex—until I discovered that in Greenock Prison we have some of the hardest-faced individuals and some of the most truculent ladies whom I have ever come across.

I say it is a scandal that young offenders, young girls, should be taken to that prison, because these people are so unresponsive to authority and discipline that when they are interviewed the complaint which they used to make to me was that they demanded bacon and eggs every morning—

Miss Harvie Anderson (Renfrew, East)

I do not think it is quite a fair picture which the hon. Member is drawing of the work which is being done at Greenock Prison. I should be the first to agree that there are hardened offenders within the prison. But under the control of one whom I have previously described as a most enlightened governor, extremely good work is being done in reforming the prisoners. It would be a great pity if the wrong impression were conveyed from this House about the work being done by the staff at Greenock Prison.

Mr. Dempsey

I do not think that anything I have said reflects on the staff. I have been talking about the kind of prisoner with whom young offenders will become associated. Has the hon. Lady ever been a member of a prison visiting committee?

Miss Harvie Anderson

I was a member of a visiting committee for a number of years.

Mr. Dempsey

I wonder how often the hon. Lady has visited this prison and interviewed the ladies who are prisoners there. I happen to know the lady in charge, and she is a very charming person. Were I asked to comment, I should say that she is doing an excellent job. But she will be given an impossible task if she is required to accept responsibility for young girl offenders in such an adult prison. So different are her ordinary customers that I doubt whether she will be able to find the time and energy to deal with the most important problem of reforming juvenile offenders.

There is not the slighest doubt about the fact that in Greenock I met some of the most cunning, adroit and diabolical types that I have ever seen. Their existence would disillusion one and destroy one's faith in human nature if one's opinions were formed only by contact with this small and insignificant minority, whose misbehaviour costs the State and the taxpayer so much money. It is far too risky to talk about bringing young offenders into such an atmosphere.

8.45 p.m.

The purpose of a prison sentence is to try to reform these individuals, to try to show them the light and to help them on to the true road to becoming efficient, effective and responsible citizens in our democratic society. That is the purpose of bringing juvenile offenders together, but in doing so we must make sure that they are brought together in a proper atmosphere and that the sentence is not so much punishing as reformative. That point must never be forgotten. We cannot show these young people the proper road they should travel, the highway to a decent type of society, by incorporating them in an adult prison and pretending that it is possible to achieve complete segregation by those means.

I know from experience that it is not easy. I know the ways and means whereby contact can be established and exchanges can take place. The only antidote to that offensive conduct, to bad example and undesirable leadership, is segregation of these people in their own buildings. We have the labour to do that. If there is any doubt about that hon. Members should consider Lanarkshire. Building operatives there are registering at the employment exchanges. There are men and materials in the west of Scotland. In the City of Glasgow a huge skyscraper is being built for the Inland Revenue Department for the collecting of taxes. Surely sufficient money could be found by the Scottish Home Department to provide buildings to reform and give these young offenders a decent start in society.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill: —

The House divided: Ayes 146, Noes 191.

Division No. 172.] AYES [8.47 p.m.
Abse, Leo Harper, Joseph Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Ainsley, William Hart, Mrs. Judith Pentland, Norman
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe) Hayman, F. H. Popplewell, Ernest
Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central) Herbison, Miss Margaret Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Bacon, Miss Alice Hill, J. (Midlothian)J Probert, Arthur
Baird, John Hilton, A. V. Pursey, Cmdr. Harry
Barnett, Guy Holman, Percy Randall, Harry
Bence, Cyril Holt, Arthur Redhead, E. c.
Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Hooson, H. E, Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Benson, Sir George Hoy, James H. Reynolds, G. W.
Blackburn, F. Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Rhodes, H.
Blyton, William Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Boardman, H. Hunter, A. E. Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Bowden, Rt. Hn. H.W. (Leics, S.W.) Hynd, H. (Accrington) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Brockway, A. Fenner Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Ross, William
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Janner, Sir Barnett Short, Edward
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Jeger, George Silkin, John
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Johnson, Carot (Lewisham, S.) Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Carmichael, Neil Jones, Dan (Burnley) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Chapman, Donald Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Small, William
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Kelley, Richard Sorensen, R. W.
Dalyell, Tam Kenyon, Clifford Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Lawson, George Spriggs, Leslie
Davies, Harold (Leek) Ledger, Ron Steele, Thomas
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lubbock, Eric Stones, William
Deer, George McBride, N. Swingler, Stephen
Dempsey, James McKay, John (Wallsend) Symonds, J. B.
Donnelly, Desmond McLeavy, Frank Taverne, D.
Duffy, A. E. P. (Colne Valley) MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. Mahon, Simon Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg) Thomson, G. M, (Dundee, E.)
Fernyhough, E. Manuel, Archie Wade, Donald
Finch, Harold Mapp, Charles Wainwright, Edwin
Fletcher, Eric Mason, Roy Warbey, William
Foley, Maurice Mendelson, J. J. Weitzman, David
Forman, J. C. Millan, Bruce Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Monslow, Walter Wilkins, W. A.
Galpern, Sir Myer Moody, A. S. Williams, D. J. (Neath)
George,LadyMeganLloyd(Crmrthn) Morris, John Williams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Gourlay, Harry Mulley, Frederick Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Greenwood, Anthony Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Grey, Charles Noel-Baker, Rt.Hn. Philip(Derby,S.) Winterbottom, R. E.
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Oliver, G. H. Woof, Robert
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) O'Malley, B. K. Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Oram, A. E.
Grimond, Rt. Hon. J. Pargiter, G. A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.) Parker, John Mr. Charles A. Howell and
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Pavitt, Laurence Mr. Whitlock.
Altken, Sir William Chichester-Clark, R. Eden, Sir John
Ashton, Sir Hubert Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Eillot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)
Atkins, Humphrey Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Emery, Peter
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Cleaver, Leonard Farr, John
Barlow, Sir John Cole, Norman Fell, Anthony
Barter, John Cooke, Robert Finlay, Graeme
Batsford, Brian Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Fisher, Nigel
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Cordle, John Fletcher-Cooke, Charles
Berkeley, Humphry Corfield, F. V. Gammans, Lady
Bidgood, John C. Coulson, Michael Gardner, Edward
Biffen, John Courtney, Cdr. Anthony Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife)
Bishop, F. P. Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Glover, Sir Douglas
Black, Sir Cyril Crawley, Aldan Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)
Bossom, Hon. Clive Critchley, Julian Gower, Raymond
Box, Donald Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. Sir Oliver Grant-Ferris, R.
Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Curran, Charles Green, Alan
Bralne, Bernard Currle, G. B. H. Gresham Cooke, R.
Brooman-White, R. Dalkeith, Earl of Gurden, Harold
Brown, Alan (Tottenham) Deedes, Rt. Hon. W. F. Hall, John (Wycombe)
Bryan, Paul Digby, Simon Wingfield Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)
Buck, Antony Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M. Harris, Reader (Heston)
Bullard, Donys Doughty, Charles Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Drayson, G. B. Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)
Cary, Sir Robert Duncan, Sir James Harvie Anderson, Miss
Chataway, Christopher Duthie, Sir William Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
Hendry, Forbes Maddan, Martin Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool,S.)
Hiley, Joseph Maginnis, John E. Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Markham, Major Sir Frank Russell, Ronald
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Marten, Neil Scott-Hopkins, James
Hirst, Geoffrey Matthews, Cordon (Meriden) Shaw, M.
Hocking, Philip N. Mawby, Ray Shepherd, William
Holland, Philip Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Stanley, Hon. Richard
Hopkins, Alan Mills, Stratton Stevens, Geoffrey
Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Miscampbell, Norman Storey, Sir Samuel
Hughes Hallett, Vice-Admiral John More, Jasper (Ludlow) Studholme, Sir Henry
Hughes-Young, Michael Morgan, William Summers, Sir Spencer
Hutchison, Michael Clark Morrison, John Tapsell, Peter
Iremonger, T. L. Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Nabarro, Sir Gerald Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Nicholls, Sir Harmar Taylor, Frank (M'ch'st'r, Moss Side)
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Teeling, Sir William
Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Oakshott, Sir Hendrie Temple, John M.
Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Osborn, John (Hallam) Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)
Kaberry, Sir Donald Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Kerans, Cdr. J. S. Page, Graham (Crosby) Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Kerby, Capt. Henry Page, John (Harrow, West) Turner, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Kerr, Sir Hamilton Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Kimball, Marcus Partridge, E. Tweedsmuir, Lady
Kirk, Peter Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Lagden, Godfrey Peel, John Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Lambton, Viscount Peyton, John Walder, David
Langford-Holt, Sir John Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth Walker, Peter
Leavey, J. A. Pilkington, Sir Richard Wall, Patrick
Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Pitman, Sir James Ward, Dame Irene
Linstead, Sir Hugh Pitt, Game Edith Wells, John (Maidstone)
Litchfield, Capt. John Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Proudfoot, Wilfred Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Quennell, Miss J. M. Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Ramsden, James Wise, A. R.
McAdden, Sir Stephen Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin Woodhouse, C. M.
MacArthur, Ian Rees, Hugh (Swansea, W.) Woodnutt, Mark
McLaren, Martin Rees-Davies, W. R. (Isle of Thanet)
Maclay, Rt. Hon. John Ridsdale, Julian TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
McMaster, Stanley R. Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Mr. Pym and Mr. Ian Fraser.
Macpherson.Rt.Hn.Niall (Dumfries) Robertson, Sir D. (C'thn's & S'th'ld)
Lady Tweedsmuir

I beg to move, in page 2, line 43, to leave out subsection (2) and to insert: (2) In any enactment—

  1. (a) any reference to a sentence of imprisonment as including a reference to a sentence of any other form of detention shall be construed as including a reference to a sentence of detention in a young offenders institution; and
  2. (b) any reference to imprisonment as including any other form of detention shall be construed as including a reference to detention in a young offenders institution.
This is purely a drafting Amendment. This subsection, which was originally one unpunctuated sentence of 54 words, attracted a certain amount of criticism in Committee. I have sought to amend it, but at some cost to brevity. The subsection now contains 66 words, but I hope that hon. Members will feel that it is better.

Mr. Willis

There was a certain occasion in this House when an hon. Member opposite was holding forth with great vigour. My hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) could not see the hon. Gentleman because the sun was streaming through the west windows. My hon. Friend thereupon asked Mr.

Speaker, on a point of order, whether the blinds could be raised. The blinds were duly raised, whereupon my hon. Friend, seeing who was speaking, on another point of order asked whether they could be lowered again.

I feel somewhat in that position to night when I compare the original subsection with that proposed. I certainly criticised the original subsection in Committee, but when I first read the proposed wording I wondered whether I had been wise in raising the question of length and lack of punctuation, and might not have been wiser to have said nothing. However, having considered the proposed new subsection in rather more detail, and having weighed the pros and cons, I think that it is an improvement on the original subsection, and we are grateful to the hon. Lady for having accepted our suggestion that the subsection should be put in more simple language.

Mr. Ross

I am very grateful that we have agreement at last because, on this point, my hon. Friend the Member for Edinburgh, East (Mr. Willis) and I had a very wordy battle. After all, someone has to provide the opposition in these things—or should I say that someone has to support the hon. Lady at times? We have not heard a single Scottish Tory voice today. However, this is a very reasonable Amendment.

I must correct my hon. Friend. On the occasion to which he refers it was the hon. Member for Louth (Sir C. Osborne) who was speaking, the person who could not see him was my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Stechford (Mr. Roy Jenkins), and it was only one intervention—as usual, a short one—from myself.

Amendment agreed to.