HC Deb 20 November 1969 vol 791 cc1484-5
4. Mr. Woodnutt

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will consider introducing legislation to reintroduce capital punishment for the murder of law enforcement officers.

Mr. Callaghan

No, Sir.

Mr. Woodnutt

Would the Home Secretary not agree that for vicious men who are already in prison for the rest of their lives a further prison sentence cannot possibly be a deterrent, and that capital punishment may be a deterrent?

Mr. Callaghan

That raises a wider question, but I am happy to say, and long may it continue, that no prison officer has been killed by a prisoner in one of Her Majesty's prisons for many years.

Mr. Brooks

Would my right hon. Friend not accept that there is a curious anomaly in that there are a number of offences in Acts dating from 1772 to 1957 for which the death penalty is still retained? Would he indicate in what circumstances such penalties might be applied.

Mr. Callaghan

No, Sir, not without notice. I seem to remember something of the kind in the Naval Discipline Act, but it is a long time since Admiral Byng.