HL Deb 18 November 1948 vol 159 cc475-6

4.7 p.m.


My Lords, I think the House will wish to be informed of a Statement which is being made to-day in another place. On July 22 my right honourable friend the Home Secretary stated in another place that the question whether there are practical means of limiting the death penalty would be explored. The Government have given careful consideration to the question how this can best be done, and have decided to recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission for this purpose. The terms of reference and membership of the Royal Commission are still under consideration, and will be announced in due course. At this stage I can only say that the scope of the inquiry will be the questions whether liability under the criminal law in Great Britain to suffer capital punishment for murder should be limited or modified, what alternative punishment can be substituted, and what are the changes in the law and the prison system involved by any alternative punishment. The Commission will be invited to take account of the position in those countries whose experience and practice may be of value in considering these questions.