HL Deb 19 March 1957 vol 202 cc626-42

4.34 p.m.

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.


My Lords, your Lordships may rest assured that in rising to move the Third Reading of the Homicide Bill I shall not travel again over the ground that has been covered so often. May I summarise the position thus? Over the first part of the Bill, there is broad general agreement that it will work a welcome change in the criminal law. Over the other part, there are many differences of opinion and these differences are likely to persist. I have frequently described this Bill as a compromise, for that is what it is, but I think that this can be said: it is an attempt to find a via media of which most of us can say that, even if it does not go exactly where we want it to lead, it leads in the right direction. Both the principles on which the Bill is founded and the details have been canvassed so firmly in your Lordships' House that I think that if I were to do it again, it would be tedious repetition. I hope, therefore, that your Lordships will not think it discourteous in me if I suggest that I move the Third Reading of the Bill now and give those noble Lords who wish to say anything further on this topic an opportunity of bringing out the points in their minds, after which I shall have the greatest pleasure in seeking to reply to them. In the hope that that course commends itself to your Lordships, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3ª.—(The Lord Chancellor).

4.36 p.m.


My Lords, I do not rise to oppose the Third Reading of the Bill or its passage into law, but equally I do not rise to support the Bill. I think that I can best express my attitude towards it in the well-known phrase of "praising it with faint damns". The opponents of abolition have relied in the past on four main arguments. The first was that if a man had committed the vile crime of murder, he deserved to "swing" for it. I think that few people to-day would admit that that was the main objection they had to the abolition of capital punishment. The second argument was that human life was so sacred that the punishment for taking it ought to be of a unique kind, and that kind must be death. It always seemed to me a rather peculiar evidence of this belief in the sacredness of human life that the State should break the very principle for which it was supposed to stand. I think that few people take that line at the present time.

The third ground for opposing the abolition of capital punishment was that it was alleged that murderers were such incorrigible offenders that if they were not put to death the imprisonment which must be the substitute for it must be genuinely a life imprisonment. The whole experience of this country and in Europe, where a certain number of murderers have been reprieved and released from prison after serving a sentence, not of life, has been to contradict that argument. It has been practically unknown for released murderers to do a second murder, with very rare exceptions.

The fourth reason which has been put forward is that as murder is a particularly foul crime, as we all admit, it is essential to have a real deterrent, and that the only deterrent which is unique and capable of having the desired effect is to take away the murderer's life and so protect the public. It is on this principle alone—and I do not think that the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor would disagree with this statement—that the present Bill proceeds to compromise. It distinguishes between two kinds of murder, one only of which is in future to be punishable by death. It does not make any pretence that the line of demarcation is drawn so as to mark the degree of heinousness of a murder, or even the degree of brutal premeditation.

For this reason, a large body of public opinion is mystified as to the principles of the Bill and considers the Bill to be illogical. But the promoters of the Bill have selected certain specified types of murder with regard to which they think that the retention of capital punishment will provide a real deterent: for instance, with regard to carrying lethal weapons to commit a burglary, for attacks on the police, for attacks on warders and other crimes. However, I do not think that even the promoters of the Bill can be very happy or believe that it is a compromise which is at the same time logical in all respects.

Your Lordships know quite well that in this matter of the death penalty I am a complete abolitionist. But I have never said—and I would not say it, because it would not be true—that in no conceivable circumstances could the death penalty be a deterrent. What I have said is that the few people who may be deterred from committing a murder by the fear of capital punishment are outnumbered by those who are stimulated to commit even this appalling crime by the glamour which attaches to the whole business of the gallows and the notoriety connected with any form of capital punishment. That may seem an absurd statement, but I would draw the attention of your Lordships to two facts which occur in ordinary life and which show that the threat and fear of death, so far from deterring people, to some extent stimulates them to face the danger. The two illustrations that I give are big game hunting and mountaineering. I am convinced that the possibility of untoward results happening to the person concerned is part of the stimulus and excitement of engaging in both of these activities. If you had a hill that was easy to climb and there was no fear of anybody falling from the rocks, then I do not think you would get half as many people to climb it as you get engaging in mountaineering owing to the very possibility that an accident may happen. Human beings are very curious, and I am convinced that the glamour connected with capital punishment is one of the factors which leads to a continuance of murders.

Therefore, I am sorry that the provisions of this Bill have not done away with what I call the whole beastly business of the hangman or any other form of execution I should have regarded that as a great step forward in the public life of this country. I regret that this Bill attempts to form a compromise, instead of having that, as I consider, most salutary effect. In spite of that view of mine regretting the nature of this Bill, I have lived a very long life and I am fully aware that the British people, as a whole, are strong supporters of compromise; and they are strong believers in taking one step forward and never going a great way at one time. In some respects, I admire the British people for their determination in both of these matters, and I have often supported them in that action.

When it comes to this particular Bill, however, the question arises whether this compromise, such as it is, is a good one, and whether it is a genuine step forward or not. Personally, I do not consider that it is a particularly good compromise, or that it is a particularly good step forward. But apparently the Government do; and, what is more, the Government believe that public opinion generally will regard this as a satisfactory compromise and a satisfactory step forward. It is true that this Bill has gone through the other place, and it is likely to go through your Lordships' House. In view of those facts, I will not be the one to stop it from going through into law. It may not prove a very good Bill; it certainly is not a very logical Bill; but if it pleases public opinion in this country, as the Government profess it does, then I shall certainly not stand in its way.

4.45 p.m.


My Lords, the Government must look with a certain measure of satisfaction at these empty Benches this afternoon. They can compare the fact that upon the Third Reading of a very controversial Bill, admittedly filled with a number of anomalies, instead of a heated House of 335 Peers, as there were on the Second Reading of the Bill that I introduced in July, there is now, to judge from the attendance this afternoon, very little interest in the Bill at all. Is this the result, as the noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor suggested, of the Government having found a via media that satisfies almost everyone? Or is it the result, as I ventured, perhaps rather impertinently, to suggest a week ago of some clever evasive action by the present Minister? I do not wish to give the answer to-day; the answer will be given by what actually happens when the Bill comes into operation.

I should like to say, first of all, how sincerely I have regretted finding myself month after month, and indeed, year after year, in disagreement with the noble Marquess the Leader of the House, who in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred I regard as a statesman possessed of the best possible judgment. Let me say, too (I hope he will allow me to pay him a humble tribute), that I was very much impressed by the patience and knowledge with which the Lord Chancellor defended the other day what I personally believed to be an almost indefensible Bill. No one could have done it better; no one could have made a better case for the Bill to which we are asked to give a Third Reading this afternoon.

Much now will depend upon the way in which the Bill is administered. It will depend a great deal upon the administration of the present Home Secretary and his successors. Fortunately, we have to-day a Home Secretary who is obviously intensely interested in penal questions. In the last few weeks he has made two remarkable speeches, first, when he was in charge of the Bill after he had become Home Secretary, in which he sketched the complexities of all the mental questions connected with crime. He said that here was a field almost uncharted upon which we were just beginning to work. The second speech was the speech he made the other day upon prison administration. There again, he showed that he was in full possession of some of the issues that concern crime much more even than this or that type of punishment.

He spoke of a research programme into questions of this kind. Let me remind noble Lords that in the Criminal Justice Act, 1948, and in the proposals that I originally made upon which the Bill was founded, there was a provision specifically inserted implying much greater facilities than there had been before for research into questions such as these with which I am dealing. Unfortunately, this research clause has been almost ignored. I am delighted to think, after what the Home Secretary has said, that he is now going to put life into it, and that we are going to see an effective inquiry into all these mental questions to which he rightly attaches so much importance. Let me suggest to him that the first branch of these questions that he should ask the researchers to consider is the branch that concerns the mentality of murderers. I believe that the result of any such inquiry will be to show that in an almost insignificant number of cases the death penalty has any effect at all. I greatly hope that he will at once set in operation this urgently required inquiry into this particular branch of the subject.

In the meanwhile, I hope most sincerely that he will hold his hand in cases that come before him, and, at least until the research which I have mentioned is completed, will continue to give reprieves to the classes of murderers who are still liable to the death penalty under the Bill. I know that the Lord Chief Justice believes that if the Home Secretary adopted a line of this kind he would be setting up the dispensatory power of the Crown against the Statute Law. I do not believe that that criticism can be justified by history. Let me give noble Lords two cases. Let me give, first, the case of the attitude of successive Governments towards infanticide. The death penalty for infanticide has never been inflicted since 1849, yet it was only in 1922 that it was abolished by Statute. For all those forty or fifty years the Home Secretary of the day reprieved every case of infanticide in the teeth of the statutory law. Let me give another example—and the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, will remember it well—the case of murderers under eighteen years of age. No murderer under eighteen has been executed since 1887, yet it was only in the Children Acts of 1908 and 1933 that these reprieves were authorised by Statute. I hope, therefore, that the Home Secretary will not be deflected from the line that I have suggested by any of the comments that have been made during our debates upon this subject by the Lord Chief Justice.

I ask him further to consider very carefully what has happened in Belgium. Belgium, in some ways, is a country not unlike this country—an industrial country, mainly urban, very thickly populated; the kind of community in which it might be expected that murders would be more common than they would be in a rural area. Since 1863 there has not been a single execution in Belgium, although the Statute Law has never been altered. At the end of the last war, there was a great agitation to start executions again in Belgium. In much the same way as in this country, there was an exceptional outbreak of robbery with violence. There was a particularly bad case of a gang murder, and a strong demand that the power that had not been exercised for eighty years should be brought into operation again. The Minister of Justice, who was Emil Vandervelde, opposed the demand. The King signed a reprieve, and it is interesting to note that, following that incident, robbery with violence and murder steadily started to decrease. Let the Home Secretary look carefully into this Belgian precedent, and let him, as I say, continue to give reprieves, particularly after the last eighteen months have shown that they have had no significant effect upon the number of murders. Let him on no account put himself in the position of being, as we believe, a great penal reformer but at the same time being the Home Secretary who, after eighteen months of reprieves, revives these horrible executions.

5.0 p.m.


My Lords, I had not intended to detain your Lordships in this matter, but the speech which has been made by the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, is of such an important character that I should like to say a few words with reference to it. I, too, should have preferred that the whole death penalty had been abolished. Like the noble Viscount, I am glad indeed that we have gone so far along that road, but I should be glad to think that the Home Secretary would be able to take the advice which the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, has tendered to him. I appreciate the difficulty and the difference that there is between taking that course, in face of the passage now of this new Bill, and the precedents which he gave where the law was old and apparently, by public consent, out of harmony with current opinion. Therefore, these precedents are not quite what they seem to be.

That brings me to this point which seems to me the great weakness in this Bill: that is, that murder by shooting is a capital offence, no matter what the circumstances may be. So, unless the Home Secretary takes the view which the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, has advanced, we may find that we have two murders. One is the kind which is among the most horrible forms of murder, the premeditated, slow poisoning of an unsuspecting person, which is not a capital offence. The other is sudden shooting, under great stress of emotion (we had a case not very long ago of a woman in that position) because of an intolerable sense of wrong. That, in all circumstances, is a capital offence. That would seem to me the major defect in this Bill, apart from the fact that it does not abolish the death penalty altogether. I hope sincerely that, if the Home Secretary felt, in the circumstances of the new law, passed without dissent by both Houses of Parliament, unable fully to accept the advice and the views which the noble Viscount. Lord Templewood, has given, he would at least be able to judge the circumstances and the mental condition of a person guilty of certain murder by shooting, such as the one to whom I have referred, before feeling automatically bound not to recommend a reprieve.

5.3 p.m.


My Lords, I should like to say in a few words, because I did not have an opportunity of doing so on Second Reading, why I support this Bill. In that respect I, like the noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, a confirmed abolitionist as regards the capital penalty, go further than he does and adopt not an attitude of neutrality, as he would, but an attitude of support for this Bill. Indeed, it seems to me that, if we approach this Bill from a logical viewpoint—which, of course, we do not—it is the abolitionists who ought to be loud in their support of the Bill and the retentionists who ought to be speaking with equal vehemence against it. I am surprised, if I may say so, not to find my noble friends Lord Teviot and the noble Lord who sits beside me now, Lord Ailwyn, stoutly opposing the passage of this Bill. It will be their speeches, if I mistake not, which will be quoted in a hundred years' time as an example of the extremes to which people could go in the dark days of the 1950s. But yet I find them silent upon this Bill. That, indeed, I find surprising.

The reason why I support this Bill is simply that if it is passed into law, it will be, from my point of view, improving the position because it will reduce the number of cases in which the death sentence is passed. To me it is as simple as that. I would only add that I confidently expect that it will be only a very short time before there will be complete abolition of the death penalty. I concede at once that the example which I now mention has not very great value, because it covers such a very short time; but it is a fact, I believe, that since it became known that the death penalty was not being put into operation—that is, about eighteen months ago—the number of murders in this country has not increased. That is what we always said would happen, and it is contrary to what the retentionists said would happen. I admit that we can place little value upon that figure. On the other hand, I submit that it does not help the retentionists in the slightest degree, because it does not bear out the prophecy which they always make—namely, that, when the death penalty is suspended, the number of murders will increase. So once again, for what they are worth, the figures are on our side. I just wanted to say why those of us who are of the confirmed opinion that the right thing to do is to abolish the death penalty altogether, not only can justify our support of this Bill but indeed, in my view, ought not to do anything else.

5.6 p.m.


My Lords, I merely desire to say that, as one who supported the continuation of the death penalty when the Bill was brought in originally, I still remain of the same opinion. But I am glad to note that the present provisions limit the number of the crimes in which the death penalty can be inflicted. I agree with what has been said by the noble Lord who has just spoken: that what we really need is a great deal more research No one so far this evening has mentioned the question whether there are any particular varieties in human development which make certain people actual criminals. Some of them really are an inferior brand of human being—I do not think there is very much doubt about that: they are deformed. In some of those cases, if it can be done properly, as it will certainly be done under this Bill, it is a very proper thing to get rid of those people and to prevent them from having any more children. That is an extremely useful thing.

In the short debate that we have had to-day—and this is no occasion for a long debate—nobody has mentioned the question of heredity; nobody has mentioned the question of whether there are certain grades of development, especially of mental and moral development, in human individuals. I think that it is desirable, as I said before in a previous debate, that we should have the death penalty, which is one of the things which will hold in restraint people who are inclined to take refuge in murder, as it were, when they want to achieve a limited object of their own. I do not think I am any more brutal than other people, but I happen to have had a long medical training and have seen medical people in many aspects in many countries—in fact, in most countries—in a very large proportion of the habitable world, and I have not the slightest doubt that there are very great differences between one kind of individual and another kind of individual: they stand at altogether different levels of evolution and development. I hope that the day may come when our civilisation is sufficiently well developed to prevent such things happening. I hope that it will be possible for us to do away with punishment by death for murder simply because there will not be any more murders. I am glad to see that there is likely to be a decline. At the present time, there is not a decline in the number of murders. There are more murders now than were taking place annually at the time when the debates on this matter were originally held in another place and, subsequently, in this House.

I felt that I could not sit here and fail to express my opinion, not because I think I am more bloody minded than other people but, perhaps, because I have seen a great deal of bloody mindedness during my experiences in three wars and as a doctor in many "slummy" parts of the world, and not only in London. There are at present in the world certain people, born in bad conditions, who are definitely a danger and who, in certain circumstances, should, if they commit crime, suffer the death penalty.

5.12 p.m.


My Lords, I came quite unprepared to speak this evening and I am not very good at speeches "off the cuff", but my noble friend beside me has challenged me, and I feel that a few words in reply are required in common civility. Your Lordships may remember that I spoke strongly against the Silverman Bill. I expressed myself as not only a retentionist but as an extentionist. I considered that people who were guilty of some of the most fearful crimes of all—these terrible, savage assaults on old people and on children—were no longer fit to live in this world. I am unrepentant; I still hold those views. But that does not mean to say that I do not realise that one is in a considerable minority in this matter. I think that this Bill, in principle, is a compromise—it is a compromise Bill, as the noble and learned Viscount said—and is probably the nearest thing to meeting the general approval of the community at large at the present time. I thought very sincerely as to whether I should speak on Second Reading of the Bill. On the whole, I decided against it. It may be illogical, but I do not think these matters can be decided by logic. I have these opinions; I hold them; and I certainly do not oppose the passing of this Bill.

5.13 p.m.


My Lords, I am grateful to all your Lordships who have spoken for the contributions that you have made at this terminal stage of a difficult piece of work. I am sure your Lordships would not want me to go over the answers which I made at some length last July to the general arguments that have been advanced to-day. The noble Lord, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, in the course of a modest, moderate and reasonable speech, said that he did not think that the death penalty was a deterrent of such value as to justify its existence. After many years, in many capacities, of considering the matter, I am firmly of the belief that it is an indispensable deterrent for certain classes of murder. I say that only because I should not like this matter to be left without a statement of my clear and sincere belief, whether your Lordships agree with it or not.

But I think the most remarkable moment in this short debate was when my noble friend Lord Templewood said that he found, I will not say disquiet, but great sorrow at being divided in this question from the noble Marquess the Leader of the House. I put it to Lord Templewood that that exemplifies, as clearly as any aspect of this matter, how strongly the two points of view are held in this country; and there is no one that I can think of who would impute a lack of sincerity, either to my noble friend Lord Templewood or to the noble Marquess who leads this House. In that situation I believe that there is a duty to find a middle course.

I should like to put it to Lord Templewood in this way, because he has said—and criticism from friends is good for the soul, I know—that this Bill is not so much a compromise as an attempt to get out of a difficulty at any expense. Well, I ask him to listen to this debate, including his own contribution, and he will see that those who think as be does have maintained that the death penalty is not an indispensable deterrent for any form of murder. There are many of us—I am glad that my noble friend Lord Ailwyn has spoken, because he has exemplified a school of thought which, believe me, is by no means a small school of thought, as every public opinion poll has shown—who think that the death penalty is an indispensable deterrent for every class of murder. This Bill reflects the Government's view that it is an indispensable deterrent for some, but not all murders, and the Government have tried to find what are the murders which, as I have said, can be looked at from the point of view of the two limbs of my proposition: those likely to strike at law and order and those where the murderer is most likely to be deterred—because no one who has ever considered this problem has said that the death penalty is not a deterrent.

My Lords, in considering this Bill, your Lordships may or may not agree with the Government's selection of these murders. But if the making of a selection to the best of our ability is not a fair compromise, then I do not think that I compromise has any meaning at all. I venture to remind your Lordships once again—I am afraid I have done it before, and I ask your Lordships' pardon for it—that one of my great heroes is the first Marquess of Montrose, whom we in Scotland call "The Great Marquess". He is a hero not only to me but has been, for 300 years, to millions of my countrymen, because in Montrose the fire of moderation and of the need for compromise burnt as purely and strongly as the fire of fanaticism burnt in his opponents. I do not apologise. I believe it is right that v hen there are strongly held opinions that divide friends, divide families and divide Parties, Her Majesty's Government should seek for a middle course which will provide a decent and workable solution to the problem.

I want to say one word now concerning what the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, said with regard to my right honourable friend the Home Secretary, and also on what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Wilmot of Selmeston. I shall, of course, convey to and discuss with my right honourable friend the suggestion which the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood has made, and I want to make clear to the noble Lord, Lord Wilmot of Selmeston that the passage of this Bill does not in any way affect or limit the operation of the Prerogative. In the case which he mentioned, which one occasionally finds, where there is a murder by shooting which has circumstances which mitigate its enormity, the Home Secretary will take that aspect into account; and I do not want it to go out from this House that there is any restriction on the right of the Home Secretary to advise a reprieve.

I do not want to argue in any logic-chopping way what the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, has said with regard to insanity and the age limit. The noble Viscount, lord Templewood, the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, and myself are, I believe, the only three members present to-day of that trade union of ex-Home Secretaries in your Lordships' House. But I do want to make clear that all cases within a certain line must be very carefully considered. That, no doubt, has happened. After all infanticide applies to a mother whose reason is affected at the time of the birth of the child, but not affected to the extent of insanity; and, clearly, all Home Secretaries would have considered a very long time before refraining from interfering in such a case. The same thing applies with regard to youth. But the governing principle must be, and must continue to be, that each case is considered on its merits and on the circumstances of that case. There is no other approach which can be substituted for that careful and intense regard of the circumstances of the case before the Home Secretary.


My Lords, I am sorry to interrupt the noble and learned Viscount, but would what he has said apply to those under eighteen? I understand that those under eighteen have been reprieved for something like fifty years although no change was made in the Statute Book.


My Lords, the answer to the noble Viscount is this: both from the legal and the practical point of view, in the days before the Act to which he referred, cases would have to be considered individually, but that would not prevent any Home Secretary saying to himself with regard to those under eighteen: "It must be an exceptional case, a case so exceptional that I cannot imagine it, before I would allow that person to hang." But what he must not do, either in law or in morals, is to say: "I will in advance take a line with regard to a class of cases, a line that is contrary to the existing law of the land." He must consider the case on the individual circumstances. That is as I understand the position.


My Lords, I certainly understood, when I was Secretary of State, that all those under eighteen were reprieved, and I do not remember any case in which there was any discussion upon the individual murderer. I do not know whether the memory of the noble and learned Viscount is the same as my own.


My Lords, that was the result, but that did not prevent that approach to an exceptional case, had such arisen. I agree that it is difficult to imagine such a case; but it may happen, and what I am saying is that the Home Secretary must consider each case on its merits. But in considering each case he must take into account all the factors. I am not going through them in detail. The noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, may remember that they were enumerated by Mr. Herbert Gladstone, who was Home Secretary in 1907. I cannot remember whether the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, went as Under-Secretary to the Home Office in 1906 or 1908.


It was in 1906.


I thought that was so, so that the statement was made at a time when the noble Viscount was Under-Secretary at the Home Office. He will remember that it is a classic statement, going into the factors which a Home Secretary takes into consideration, which are, of course, the individual factors and the public factors, including the confidence of the public in the administration of justice.


My Lords, what the noble and learned Viscount is saying may have great importance in the administration of the law when this Bill reaches the Statute Book. As I understood the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, he was urging that straight away, from now on, the Home Secretary ought to reprieve all cases of capital punishment until the matter had been elucidated by further research, and he instanced the cases of the under-eighteens and those convicted of infanticide as having set a precedent. But, Parliament having rejected a Bill for the abolition of capital punishment, and having passed a Bill establishing a crime of capital murder which is to be punished by death, would a Home Secretary be obedient to the law of the land if, beforehand, he recommended a reprieve, for such general reasons as the noble Viscount, Lord Templewood, has mentioned, in every case that came before him? The noble and learned Viscount the Lord Chancellor said that the Home Secretary must consider the actual circumstances of the individual case before recommending a reprieve, but surely he must also do that before refusing a reprieve.


I am sorry to interrupt again. I do not suggest that the Home Secretary should say, as soon as the Bill becomes law, that he is going to recommend a reprieve in every case. What I want is that in practice he shall look at every case, and that the result shall be the same as has taken place in Belgium.


My noble friend Lord Templewood is asking my right honourable friend the Home Secretary to take the course which was so castigated by the noble and learned Lord, the Lord Chief Justice, in the earlier debate. With great respect, I agree with what the noble Viscount, Lord Samuel, has said. Each case must be looked at on its merits and circumstances; and these circumstances include not only those connected with the crime and the criminal but those connected with the public and also with public respect for the administration of justice. As I said, it was very well put, if I might be allowed to say so, in the statement of Mr. Herbert Gladstone, to which I have referred and which has always been considered the locus classicus in the matter. What is wrong, as I assume, is to say in advance that a certain class, all without individual consideration, will be reprieved, because that offends against the old rule about giving a licence to commit crime, contrary to the existing Statute Law of the Realm.

My Lords, I have tried to deal with the main point which the noble Lord, Lord Wilmot of Selmeston, made earlier. I fully appreciate the logical position of the noble Lord, Lord Merthyr, but I do not think it requires any further comment from me. I have already prayed in aid for my own purpose what my noble friend Lord Ailwyn has said. The controversy in its present stage has, I think, been going on long enough, because it is quite clear that we shall not in the immediate future reach complete agreement between the two sides. There will always be those who think we have gone too far. There will always be the abolitionists, for whom nothing short of total abolition is enough. As I have said, we have tried to find a middle course and I do commend to your Lordships the thought that this limited retention of capital punishment will preserve the essentials of law and order in the country while saving from the capital sentence those whom many feel should not be subjected to the ultimate penalty of the law. It is on those grounds that I commend the Bill for a Third Reading by your Lordships' House.

On Question, Bill read 3ª, and passed.