HC Deb 10 April 1986 vol 95 cc433-4

  1. `(1) In section 43 of the Naval Discipline Act 1967 the words "(a) death" shall be removed.
  2. (2) In section 71 of the Army Act 1955 the words "(a) death" shall be removed.
  3. (3) In section 71 of the Air Force Act 1955 the words "(a) death" shall be removed.
  4. (4) All consequential references in the above Acts to the application of death sentences shall cease to have effect.'.— [Mr. Bermingham.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Bermingham

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

It seems almost anachronistic that in this day and age a serving soldier in the United Kingdom in peace time who is taking part in an exercise which may well lead to the restraint, of strikers, for example, could find himself on a charge which led to the imposition of the death penalty. In the United Kingdom today, if a soldier changes sides in a combat, we can hang him.

We have debated time and time again the whole question of capital punishment. During the Committee stage of the Bill—I refer to paragraphs 412 to 464 of the report — I make no apologies for the fact that throughout the bulk of that period the questions were asked by myself.