HL Deb 21 June 1965 vol 267 cc287-317

2.48 p.m.

Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.

Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Earl of Arran.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

House in Committee accordingly.

[The LORD MERTHYR in the Chair.]

Clause 1:

Amendment of law relating to homosexual acts in private

1. Notwithstanding any statutory or common law provision, a homosexual act in private shall not be an offence provided that the parties consent thereto and have attained the age of 21 years.

VISCOUNT DILHORNE moved to leave out the words from beginning of the clause down to and including "provision,". The noble and learned Viscount said: It would, I think, be to the convenience of the Committee if the first three Amendments in my name were considered together. The first and third are merely drafting and make no alteration of substance; they make the clause, I think, read better if the second Amendment is carried into the Bill or accepted by my noble friend Lord Arran. If these three Amendments are made the clause will read as follows: A homosexual act other than sodomy or attempted sodomy committed in private shall not, notwithstanding any statutory or common law provision, be an offence provided that the parties consent thereto and have attained the age of 21 years. I regard this as a most important Amendment and I hope that we shall have a full discussion upon it. Very little consideration was given to the contents of this Bill in the debate on Second Reading. The usual practice is for this House to consider the terms of the Bill to see what it does and then to decide whether to read it a second time; but this practice was not followed on the Second Reading of this Bill.

On no fewer than four occasions my noble friend represented, and indeed asked your Lordships to vote for, this Bill not on account of what it did but as an expression of view that the law on homosexuality should be changed. If I may remind your Lordships, in moving the Second Reading he said he wanted—and I quote his words— to get a formal expression of the view of 'the House."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 266 (No. 79). col. 632, May 24. 1965.] He recognised that in its present form the Bill could not become law. At the end of his speech he said: What we shall have to say squarely from your Lordships' House this afternoon is this: Are we or are we not in favour of homosexual law reform? Do we or do we not think that the present law on homosexual practices is a good and workable law and should remain as it is?" [Col. 635.] My noble friend later intervened in the speech of my noble and learned friend Lord Kilmuir, to make the same point, He said then: At this stage all we are being asked to vote upon—and I must ask your Lordships to remember this—is whether or not we think the principle of homosexual law reform is correct." [Col. 657.] The noble Lord, Lord Boothby, indulged in what I regard as the same misrepresentation, and in his speech at the end of the debate, my noble friend Lord Arran said this: What we are going to say … is simply that this House wants, or does not want. homosexual law reform." [Col. 711.]

No doubt it would facilitate the task of the Government if the practice was, on Second Reading of a Bill, merely to consider whether some change or other in the law was desirable and to disregard entirely the contents of the Bill. And it may well be the case that many of those who voted for this Bill on Second Reading did so in consequence of the statements to which I have referred. But in fact what was done was to give approval to the legalisation of sodomy, and the purpose of these Amendments is to secure that this Bill does not do that. The noble Earl, Lord Arran, said that he had rushed into print on this Bill because there was to be a debate on the same subject in another place two days later. He no doubt thought that the view of this House might affect the decision in another place. Whether it did or not, I do not know. But the fact is that in another place a quite different view was taken from that expressed by your Lordships.


By a small majority.


A quite different view was taken from that expressed by your Lordships. If my noble friend had just wanted an expression of opinion that the law on homosexuality should be changed, I dare say that that Motion would have been carried without a Division. But now, having got that expression of opinion for which he asked, he is asking us to devote our time to the Committee stage of a Bill which, at this stage of the Session, can have no chance of being enacted even if the other place were favourably disposed to it, which their debate shows not to be the case. It may well be that some noble Lords, realising this, will not take the same interest in the Bill that they otherwise would; and it may well be that, in consequence, some of the decisions made to-day will not be so representative as they might have been. Some noble Lords, as I have said, have been surprised by the fact that the Committee stage is being taken to-day, and are consequently unfortunately unavoidably absent. I hope that at some time in the course of our debates the noble Earl, Lord Arran, will explain why it is that he is asking your Lordships to spend so much time on this Bill when it has no chance of becoming law.

The Wolfenden Committee did, contrary to what the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, implied, recommend that sodomy between two consenting adults should be made legal. But that really should not conclude the matter—


I must ask the noble and learned Viscount to forgive me. I never said anything like that, or anything remotely approaching it, in my speech.


If the noble Lord will refresh his memory on what he said on May 12, I think he will find that my words are justified.


I have it here.


Read it again.


It makes jolly good reading.


The Committee did recognise (to quote their Report) that it may be appropriate that the law should distinguish in some way between buggery and other homosexual acts. What I am asking this Committee to recognise is that it is appropriate to distinguish between buggery and other forms of homosexuality committed by consenting adults. I should like to make this clear. If this Amendment is carried, the effect will be that, although all other forms of homosexuality between consenting adults will be lawful, buggery will continue to be a criminal offence, even if committed by consenting adults. This Bill will then, if this Amendment is carried, effectually repeal the Labouchere Amendment for those over 21 consenting to such practices. That, the noble Lord, Lord Boothby (I am sorry to have to refer to him again), has stressed, is the main object of the Bill. I do not know whether the noble Earl, Lord Arran, agrees with that. I do not know whether the most reverend Primates and the right reverend Prelates, who are taking such a keen interest in this subject—and I cannot remember any Bill affecting the criminal law on which they took quite such an interest—agree with the noble Lord, Lord Boothby. But if they do, then this Bill, if the Amendment is carried, will achieve its main object; and I dare say that, if it is confined to that, the chances of the Bill's being accepted, either this Session or in any other Session, would be greatly increased.

I would remind your Lordships of the views expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Fisher of Lambeth (he was then Archbishop of Canterbury) in a debate on the Wolfenden Report on December 4, 1957. I quoted what he said in the course of my Second Reading speech; but what he said is so relevant to this Amendment that I hope your Lordships will not object to my reminding you of it again. He said this: I know many people have grave hesitation about this recommendation. They think it will lead to an increase in offences. Their information may be different from mine, and it is not at all easy to be dogmatic; but, like the Church Assembly itself, I feel that if there is a doubt the risk should be taken."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 206, col. 757, December 4, 1957.] We may disagree about that, but it is clear that the most reverend Primate, as he then was, was supporting recommendations that homosexuality between consenting adults should be made legal. He went on: I would add only this one further reflection: that if it proved legally possible—I do not know whether it is—to separate what the noble Lord, Lord Pakenham, called the extreme offence, and to leave that still a crime, I should wish to leave it a crime still. The Report goes on to say this: 'We believe that there is some case for retaining sodomy as a separate offence'. I believe that if that could be done "— these are Lord Fisher of Lambeth's words— it would relieve the anxieties, fears and indignation of a great number of people; and, more than that, I believe that this crime does stand in a class by itself and is almost different in kind from other homosexual offences. This Amendment is intended to do exactly what Lord Fisher of Lambeth desired, and I shall be interested to know whether or not the most reverend Primates and the right reverend Prelates agree or disagree with the noble Lord, Lord Fisher of Lambeth. As the noble Lord, Lord Goddard, reminded us, sodomy was a capital offence from the reign of Henry VIII to 1861. Since then, the maximum penalty has been imprisonment for life. The Offences Against the Person Act, 1861, described it as "an abominable crime." I would ask the most reverend Primates and the right reverend Prelates: Do they regard this conduct, sodomy, as abominable? Some of the words used by the right reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury on May 12 gave me the impression—I hope it is wrong—that he equated sodomy with fornication. Then he said: If the line can reasonably he drawn anywhere, homosexual acts in private between consenting adults fall properly on the same side of the line as fornication."—[OFFICIAL, REPORT, Vol. 266 (No. 73), col. 82, May 12, 1965] The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester said on Second Reading We should be inclined to say that the moral fibre of the nation may be just as much undermined by heterosexual misconduct as by homosexual misconduct. On the face of it, those words suggest that he and whoever may be included in the word "we" do not think that sodomy is worse than fornication. I hope that I am wrong about this, but if it is the present view of the present leaders of the Established Church that sodomy is not abominable, that it is no worse than fornication, then I can only express my confidence that that is not the view of the vast majority of members of the Church of England.

Are there not some forms of conduct so abominable in themselves and such an affront to decency that the State, whose function it is, as the Wolfenden Report recognises, to preserve public order and decency, should regard and treat them as criminals? The Wolfenden Committee said that they did not think that it is proper for the law to concern itself with what a man does in private unless it can be shown to be so contrary to the public good that the law ought to intervene in its function as the guardian of that public good. Sodomy which takes the form of bestiality is, I imagine, committed, when it is committed—and cases of it do come before the courts—in private. If the test is, as the noble Earl, Lord Arran, suggested, "Is anyone else the worse for what men over 21 do in private?" I would say that no one else is worse off as a result of the commission of this crime. Is it the view of supporters of this Bill in its present form, the view of the noble Earl, Lord Arran, of the most reverend Primates and of right reverend Prelates, that sodomy which takes this form should cease to be criminal? I hope that this question, too, will be answered.

Paragraph 93 of the Wolfenden Report reads as follows: It has not escaped us that the offence of buggery as known to the present law comprises some acts which are not homosexual offences and which are accordingly outside our terms of reference. That, of course, is quite true. They went on to say: We assume, however, that if our recommendations are adopted, the Legislature will make corresponding adjustments, if it deems them necessary, in the penalties attaching to buggery in its other forms. That, I think, indicates that, in the view of the Wolfenden Committee, there is a relationship between the different forms of buggery. If sodomy with an animal should remain a crime (and it will remain a crime, for this Bill does not touch it), then on what 'valid basis can it be distinguished from sodomy with a male person? I do not believe that there is any valid distinction, and I think that it is for those who oppose this Amendment to show that there is.

The right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of Chichester, said on Second Reading [Col. 660]: We must, of course, continue to assert, as one of the most reverend Primates did, that homosexual acts are always in principle wrong". [Col. 660.] A little later he said: The noble Earl, Lord Dundee, in the last debate expressed the fear which has been shared by many, that any relaxation of the existing law would give the appearance of extending social approval to homosexual conduct. That is the last thing we should desire or support.…." [Col. 661.] That is what he said. But no matter how frequently it may be asserted that homosexual acts are always wrong in principle, such assertions, will, I fear, have little, if any, effect once these acts are made lawful. It will be very much more difficult to convince people that such conduct is wrong if now, with the backing of the leaders of the Established Church, it is made lawful. Certainly relaxation of the existing law will make it appear that such conduct is not in future to be regarded as wrong, as it has been until now. The appearance of relaxation will be greatly enhanced if it be the case that the present leaders of the Established Church regard sodomy as no worse than fornication and if, with their support, sodomy between consenting males over 21 is made legal. I do not think that that can really be denied; and that is one reason why I invite support for this Amendment.

The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, when he spoke on Second Reading found some difficulty, it seemed to me, in maintaining his fence-sitting position; he obviously found it most uncomfortable. If it is any comfort to him, I would say that in reading his speech—it was my misfortune that I could not be present to hear it—I was left in no doubt whatsoever about his views. He did touch on the question whether this Bill should cover sodomy. I must confess that I thought that his arguments for saying that it should were very weak, indeed one might almost say specious. He made it clear that he did not regard buggery as less repulsive than other forms of indecency between males, and said that to distinguish between them would have no apparent basis in logic or morals. I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Fisher of Lambeth, that buggery stands on a different footing and is almost different in kind from all other homosexual offences. That is the view, too, which is taken in the courts. The sentences imposed for buggery are usually far more severe than for other forms of homosexual offences.

The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, went on to suggest that to draw such a distinction would make the task of the police in enforcing the law quite impossible. I really cannot accept that. If the law as to sodomy is not changed, it will be no more difficult to enforce it in the future than it is at present. Then he went on to contrast the estimated number of homosexuals with the number of prosecutions. He said that the conviction rate was only a fraction of one per cent. I do not know how many of the estimated number of homosexuals he assumed committed the offence of sodomy, but if the conviction rate is very small that does not seem to me any argument for altering the law and for making sodomy legal. The noble Lord might just as well argue that as dangerous driving is very prevalent and as only a very small percentage of those who drive dangerously come before the courts, dangerous driving should cease to be an offence. He said, too, and I quote his words: If we restrict the scope of the criminal law to that area of vice, which I hope we are firmly agreed should be relentlessly attacked, it might contribute to the strengthening of morality in general." [Col. 642.] Is making sodomy lawful really likely to contribute to morality in general? I believe it will have just the opposite effect.

To sum up, if this Amendement is carried the effect will be, first, that the Labouchere Amendment is effectually repealed for those over 21 who consent; secondly, that sodomy with males will continue to be the abominable crime it was, and is; and, thirdly, that the carrying of this Amendment would at least do something to negative the appearance of a general relaxation of the law. I am certainly all in favour of doing everything that can be done to help those who have these unfortunate tendencies, but I cannot see any justification for the statement of the right reverend Prelate, the Bishop of Chichester, that the bringing of compassion and spiritual resources to this problem is any way prevented by the present state of the law. Is it really the case that the bringing of compassion and spiritual resources is affected by the law saying what conduct, homosexual or otherwise, is criminal?

In paragraph 32 of the Wolfenden Report one finds this: There are no prima facie grounds for supposing that because a particular person's sexual propensity happens to lie in the direction of… his or her own sex it is any less controllable than that of those whose propensity is for persons of the opposite sex. If this Amendment is not carried, sodomy will, I believe, become more prevalent than it is to-day. It will not be thought to be so wrong, and the removal of the sanction of the criminal law is likely to make an individual's tendency to commit this act less controllable. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 5, leave out line 5.—(Viscount Dilhorne.)

3.11 p.m.


I have had a vicious attack made upon me by the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, in what I regard as the most disgraceful speech I have ever heard in Parliament in one House or the other; and I have been here for the last forty years.


No, no!


He accused me of advocating buggery here. Let him repeat that accusation outside the House, and he will get what he deserves.


The noble Lord seems to be having some difficulty this afternoon. I did not accuse the noble Lord of advocating buggery. I said that the noble Lord had said what the main object of the Bill was. I also said that the noble Lord had misunderstood the Wolfenden Report when he said that all the Wolfenden Report had recommended was the repeal of the Labouchere Amendment. I pointed out to him that he was wrong about that. He made that error on May 12 when he interrupted my speech, and he is wrong about that as he will see if he will look at the Wolfenden Report. It made a recommendation to cover not only the Labouchere Amendment but also the offence of sodomy. That is the correction I made in the noble Lord's speech.


If I may interrupt the noble and learned Viscount, I may say that I was dealing with the Bill introduced to this House on Second Reading by the noble Earl, Lord Arran. Fortunately, I happen to have a copy of the Hansard report of my speech. I said—and I am quoting from col. 669: But, my Lords, the law we are considering this afternoon, directly as a result of the noble Earl's Bill, is Section 11 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act. 1886; and that. I would remind my noble and learned friend Lord Kilmuir, was very much less than 400 years ago. I then went on to quote, at great length, the opinions of Sir Travers Humphreys. I continued [col. 672]: This Bill, as the noble Earl who introduced it said, is not definitive or final in form. If I thought it was, I could not vote in favour of it. I then said: If we pass this Bill we shall be dealing only with the main but vital recommendation of the Wolfenden Committee which related to the Labouchere Amendment. I concluded by saying: I regard this Bill as simply a question, put to your Lordships directly, on whether you think that some reform of the law regarding homosexuality is necessary or not; and I believe that, in saying this, I carry the noble Earl, Lord Arran, with me. He is not saying that this Bill is the last word, the only word on the subject, but is merely asking your Lordships to give a vote to say whether or not you think reform is necessary. To be accused on that basis of advocating sodomy is a bit "over the odds."


The noble Lord seems to think that I accused him of that.


Order, order!


If he will be good enough to read Hansard again, he will see that I made no such accusation at all. His words are wholly unwarranted. I never accused him of that. I would not accuse anyone of that, except in the course of conducting a criminal prosecution. But I certainly never said anything from which that inference could properly be drawn by the noble Lord, or by anyone else.


I am convinced, if I may say so—and I am going to sit down now—that the implication of the noble and learned Viscount's speech was that that was what I was in favour of, and what I advocated. It was no such thing; and I am on record in Hansard. And if I did not say it, why did he bring me into the matter at all, because as a matter of fact I agree with almost every word he said this afternoon, and I am going to support his Amendment.


I should like to make it clear, because there is an unfortunate misunderstanding, and I may have failed to make myself absolutely clear. My criticism of the noble Lord's earlier speech is supported by the passage that he has quoted; that I said he was wrong in suggesting that either the Bill or the Wolfenden Committee covered only the Labouchere Amendment. I never said anything—and if he reads my words I am sure he will find it is true—to suggest, by implication or otherwise, that the noble Lord was in favour of sodomy. I am sorry he should have gained that impression, because it really is not justified from anything I said.


All right, we will call it a day.

3.16 p.m.


I hope that it will assist the Committee if, at this very early stage in the Committee's proceedings, I re-state what will be the Government's attitude both during the Committee stage and in the remaining stages of this Bill. The Government's attitude will continue to be one of neutrality, which means of course that Ministers will be quite free to vote if there are Divisions on any Amendments according to their own private views and according to their consciences.


I beg the noble Lord's pardon for interrupting him, but I think I ought to tell your Lordships that all the hearing aids at this end of the House have failed, and it is very difficult to hear the noble Lord. If he will speak a little more slowly, I shall do my best to hear him.


I am most grateful to the noble Lord. If I may quickly paraphrase what I have already said, it was that at this early stage I propose to re-state what the Government's position will be during the Committee stage and on subsequent stages of the Bill. Ministers, and Peers supporting the Government, will be entirely free to vote on any Amendments according to their own individual feelings.

But so far as my own replies to any Amendments, and those of my noble friend Lord Shackleton, who will deal with some of them, are concerned, we shall hope to point out any practical or legal difficulties to which the Amendments may give rise, and will say whatever we can by way of clarification without commenting on matters of policy or principle. I hope that in most cases, even within the limits that I have suggested, the Government's view of the merits of a particular Amendment, apart from the question of principle, will be clear from our remarks.

On this particular set of three Amendments, the substantive one of which is No. 2, the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, explained that his purpose is to keep within the criminal law buggery and attempted buggery between consenting adults in private. He pointed out, quite rightly, that its effect would be to restrict the scope of the clause to the repeal of the Labouchere Amendment in the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1885—not 1886—which made indecency between males an offence.


It passed into law on January 1, 1886.


I am most grateful to the noble Lord, and I shall see that his information is sent on to the proper quarter. But the result, if the noble and learned Viscount's Amendment were accepted—and this should be quite clear—would be that one form of indecent conduct, buggery, attracted a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, whereas other forms of indecency which to many people would be no less repulsive would be no offence at all if committed in private.

I tried to make it clear during the first debate that we had on this subject that I did not pretend to any expertise, though I had, perforce, studied a great many documents and opinions on this subject. But I believe that I am expressing the general view when I say that all forms of indecency of the general kind that we have been talking about are abhorrent to most people. Therefore, while agreeing with the noble and learned Viscount that there can be different opinions on these matters, personally I could not, for example, share the view which he has just expressed, that there is no difference between the ultimate offence being committed with an animal—which will still be an offence—and its being committed with a human being. But that is entirely a matter of opinion. However, I do not depart from the view which I expressed before—and I was then expressing a view on behalf of the Government, and not merely a personal and private opinion, as the noble and learned Viscount appeared to think—namely, that this alleged distinction between one form of indecent conduct and others has no apparent basis that we can see in either logic or morals.

The noble and learned Viscount was also kind enough to quote what I said about the difficulties of the police, and I should have thought that their difficulties in matters of this kind would have been clearly apparent to everyone. We are not talking about all offences of this filthy nature; we are talking about the offence when committed among consenting adults in private. Therefore, one must consider the difficulties of the police in getting information, first of all, that there has been gross indecency between males, and. secondly, of the particular nature of the offence. I do not withdraw in any way what was previously said: that the police have great difficulty in establishing whether buggery has been committed. And what the noble and learned Viscount asked for would in large measure be virtually unenforceable.

He quite rightly mentioned—and I agree with him—that this Amendment raises a most important matter of principle, but, in terms of statistics, the Wolfenden Committee estimated that the total number of convictions of consenting adults in private was about 100 a year, and the particular offence we are now talking of was at the rate of about 60 a year. There is no knowing just what the current numbers are, but there is reason to think that they have since declined. But that is the order that we are now considering—a possible 60 offences a year. I have no further comments upon the principle of the Bill, but I thought it proper to make that explanation as clearly as I could, particularly in view of the comments from the noble and learned Viscount.


I should like to ask the noble Earl, Lord Arran, to accept these Amendments proposed by the noble and learned Viscount. They do what is required. They reverse the Labouchere Amendment, and they make the law as it was before that was introduced. I think that is all that is required, and I voted for the Second Reading of this Bill just on that basis. I think the noble Viscount's Amendments should be accepted.

3.24 p.m.


It is with deep regret, the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, having spoken as he has, that I must say I cannot accept the Amendments, and that I oppose them squarely and forthrightly. I do so because I think that the arguments are on the most emotional and illogical basis and because, as has been pointed out by the noble Lord, Lord Stonham, the Amendments are unenforceable.

What are we being asked to say? We are being asked to say that homosexual practices shall remain a crime if they affect a certain part of the human body. To sexually normal people, as has been pointed out, the whole thing is unattractive enough; but to discriminate in this way, to say that one area is permissible and another is not, seems to me to be carrying one's instinctive physical distaste to an absurdity which is unbecoming in a civilised age. It is, I know, a tradition in the history of this country that special abhorrence should be expressed of the misuse of the excretory organs; and, as the noble and learned Viscount has himself said, the crime of buggery has attached to it the word "abominable". Murder is murder, treason is treason, but buggery is the abominable crime. I stress this point because to me it epitomises the almost hysterical attitude taken in the past, and seemingly in the present, towards this most disgusting but socially and medically unimportant act. Incidentally, in no other European country, except in Norway, is discrimination made between one form of homosexuality activity and another.

Next—and this is the practicable point—there is the question of enforceability. As has been said, to prove that an act of buggery has taken place is one of the most difficult things in the world to do, and it depends upon the most primitive of tests. If the noble and learned Viscount's Amendment is passed, we shall have the absurd situation of the police still with a mandate—indeed, a duty—to investigate homosexual acts in private lest there shall have been buggery, but having to concentrate on one small part of the human anatomy. The job of the police in these matters is squalid enough in all conscience—and how they must hate it!—but the proposed Amendment would make it more odious still.

Lastly, I come to the paint that was made on Second Reading: that the law relating to buggery has been in existence, I think, for four or five centuries, and should therefore, perhaps, be inviolate. I think the noble and learned Lord, Lord Goddard, particularly made this point. On this, I would simply say that the argument that, because a law is an old law, it is therefore a good law and should never be changed, seems to me unlikely to appeal to your Lordships. What are we here for—what is Parliament here for—if not to make new laws and repeal old ones? As for this particular law, and the dangers that are said to attach to it, may I remind the Committee of what Lord Ellenborough, himself a Lord Chief Justice, said in this House when it was proposed to remove the death penalty for stealing more than five shillings? He said: I am convinced, with the rest of the Judges, that public expediency requires that there should be no remission of the terror denounced against this description of offenders. Such would be the consequences of the repeal of this Statute that I am certain depredations to an unlimited extent will immediately be committed. Despite Lord Ellenborough's warnings, Britain survives. Perhaps, despite the warnings of the noble and learned Viscount, Britain, if this Amendment is rejected, may still survive. I ask the Committee to throw out this Amendment. To vote in favour would, I suggest, be not to vote with one's head or even one's heart, but in accordance with one's physical distastes, one's most primeval instincts—and that, surely, cannot be a right thing to do.


The noble and learned Viscount put one or two questions to me and to right reverend Prelates who sit on these Benches. Let me say, not for the first time, that I regard homosexual behaviour as abominable, utterly abominable. I am a supporter of this Bill in the belief that this Bill will help and not hinder the forces making for morality in this respect. The noble and learned Viscount strongly dissents from that view, but I am sure he will respect the motives of those who seriously believe that. The noble and learned Viscount challenged me about the moral relationship between homosexual behaviour and fornication. I think it is extraordinarily hard for any of us to assess the relative seriousness of sins. When we start doing that we get into questions to which the Almighty Himself knows the answer and we do not. I would say that, comparing the two, homosexual behaviour has an unnaturalness about it which makes it vile. On the other hand we are encouraged to measure the vileness of sins by the question of motives and personal circumstances. I think there can be behaviour of a fornicating kind as abominable as homosexual behaviour and as damaging to the community.

But that is not the issue on this Amendment. The issue is whether it is possible for us to distinguish morally, and therefore rightly, and to ask for a distinction in the criminal law between different species of homosexual intercourse. The noble and learned Viscount has said vehemently that sodomy is in a category by itself, and he quoted long traditions of deep feeling in favour of that belief. He also quoted my most reverend predecessor. He did not give arguments for his view; he gave no real arguments at all. I do not criticise him for not giving arguments because there are matters of moral judgment which are so deeply affairs of feeling that we find it impossible to put arguments into words. I know that is how my noble and learned friend feels about it and I understand it. But when one, for the purpose of forming a judgment, sets oneself to reading things that normally one would not care to read, I can only say that there are forms of homosexual intercourse every whit as disgusting and horrible as sodomy. Which of us can really say that we know there is a big moral distinction between anal intercourse and oral intercourse? One hates to mention such things, but by doing so one is perhaps able to clarify the issue.

I think the deep tradition of abomination of sodomy is utterly right, but I think the concentration upon sodomy as the exclusively horrible sin may have been due in the past to our very natural ignorance of the whole existing range of homosexual behaviour. There is, and has been for centuries, a general emotion linked in the mind between the crime of sodomy and the behaviour of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah in the story in the Book of Genesis, who incurred the Divine anger for the most horrible sins. But in reading that story, while it appears that homosexual behaviour was the sin of the Sodomites, we simply do not know what particular form or forms of homosexual behaviour the people of Sodom and Gomorrah were guilty of; and it is well to notice in some other books of the Bible that the term "Sodomite" is used as a term of abomination not only for this particular offence but for other offences connected with prostitution as well.

I do not subtract one whit from the sense of the abominableness of it; yet it is impossible to distinguish between the abominableness of various kinds of homosexual actions, and I do not really think it makes for morality when there is embodied in the criminal law a distinction that is not really a rational moral distinction. For that reason, I greatly hope that the Committee will reject the Amendment moved by the noble and learned Viscount and, in rejecting it, will enable the Bill—which I still believe, by and large, will promote and not hinder the ways of morality in this country—to go forward.

3.37 p.m.


We have discussed this topic and expressed our views; but I think it is very important that we should have in mind the issue before the Committee at this moment. The issue before the Committee is whether we should legalise and remove from the criminal sanction sodomy, which is—and I use the words of the most reverend Primate—the offence of penetration per anum. That is what we are discussing. We are no longer discussing the general principle, which attracted so much support, of some change in the law; nor are we discussing particularly the question of Labouchere's Amendment about which we have heard over and over again, and of the Parliamentary procedure which produced it.

I have waited to hear from my noble friend Lord Arran, who has given such careful consideration to the matter, and who, if he will allow me to say so, has expressed his views with great care on these subjects, and I have also waited to hear from the most reverend Primate, the justification for legalising and removing from the criminal sanction the offence of penetration per anum. I do not see how it helps to say that there are other offences, or, at least, the one other offence to which the most reverend Primate referred. He referred to an offence committed through the mouth—though that is not an offence under the law affecting sodomy or buggery—but how it makes it any better, any more moral, any less disgusting, any less unnatural, to have penetration per anum, I must say that none of the speeches I have heard so far has convinced me. The speeches we have heard have not brought the argument to the approach of the mouth of reason.

It is easy, as I have said before, to make everything that has roots deep in the past ipso facto the subject of criticism. I do not happen to share that view, but it is most material, on what has been said by noble Lords with regard to enforceability, that sodomy was an offence under our Statute Law and was tried in the King's courts for some 452 years. There was no greater or less difficulty about enforceability before 1886 than after, and therefore it is at any rate some argument in favour of the view which I am putting forward that that has been a recognisable and enforced offence for 452 years.

I know that my own country has always been accused of attaching too great an importance to the Old Testament. I hope that I do not, but I would say that in my view it would be a great pity if the impression were to be created that the teaching and moral standards of the Old Testament are wrong simply because they occur in the Old Testament. It would be a great pity to say that the law on this point has been wrong in England for nearly 500 years. My Lords, why? I come back to the same point, and I put it like this because the most reverend Primate has put it on this point. I say that the attempt to-day to legalise, to remove from criminal punishment and therefore, I still feel, automatically to laud the disregard felt for such an offence, is one of the most serious matters that has ever been put to your Lordships' House. That is why, with my noble and learned friend the noble Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, and with my colleague of past years, the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, for whose opinion I have such respect, I ask the House to accept the Amendment.


Before the noble Earl sits down, may I ask how he justifies the number of Abraham's wives and concubines?


Some day we shall have a debate on the more general points of the Old Testament and I shall be glad to deal, to the best of my knowledge, with all the points raised by my noble friend, but that is hardly relevant to the matter that I have put before your Lordships' House this afternoon.

3.42 p.m.


My Lords, listening to the noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, putting his Amendment, and the noble and learned Earl, Lord Kilmuir, one might think that all the sex habits between men and women were confined to a kind of platonic friendship with a plastic model of Brigitte Bardot, all wrapped up and hermetically sealed, not with the temptations of the flesh. It seems to me it is a great pity that Nature has gone in for a division of labour and made childbirth an entirely female function. If men had babies, they would be less squeamish about their own bodies and perhaps less insistent about their disgust about homosexual behaviour. There are many things which are not aesthetic about the natural functions of the body, both in sickness and in health. We quickly overcome these revulsions. Disgust is not a consistent emotion. It often varies with age. It may be a cliché, but one man's disgust is another man's pleasure. How can any civilised law be based on such a capricious emotion?

There are all sorts of abominable crimes, as has been said. I once visited South Lodge during the crisis of London's homeless, when some of those people were housed there temporarily. In one room there was a mother with eight children. She was not married to the father of the children so, having no legal binding, he had abandoned them all. I felt a wave of disgust for that most natural act that was coupled with such irresponsibility. All irrational feelings of disgust should be examined with great scepticism. I very much hope that we shall reject the noble and learned Viscount's Amendment.


May I trespass on your Lordships' attention for a few minutes, because I am very much afraid that I may not be able to wait to move my Amendment, which follows, as I accepted an engagement, which I cannot fail to attend, long be-for this debate was arranged for to-day. I should be very grateful if any noble Lord would take my Amendment off my hands and move it. Otherwise, I shall be compelled to move it at the Report stage, which would be more difficult, and we should not get it properly discussed.

With regard to the present matter on which we are engaged, I should like to remind your Lordships that when the noble Earl who is sponsoring this Bill sat down, he did so with a very strong expression of disgust upon his lips for the practice we are considering. I suggest to your Lordships that those feelings of disgust are due to our own moral sense and racial sense. I listened with great attention to what the most reverend Primate has just said on this matter. I can see his point and I sympathise with it. I should like to remind him of what I think is the truth: that the Christian religion was adopted by the world because it advocated a code of morals which was higher than that of the normal run of the world at that time. I would remind him that the whole of that very beautiful poem, Prudentius, was part of the debate on this precise matter and is a witness on my behalf. That being so, I should like to remind your Lordships that the races from which we have sprung have a very ancient literature of their own with which I am fairly familiar, because it is possible to get most of it in an English translation.

In the whole of the Icelandic sagas and the Norway sagas there is practically no mention of this practice at all. It is utterly alien, as alien to them as I believe it is to Homer, which shows what the moral sense of our country and our race has always been. The only time I can remember that it is mentioned at all is in the Volsung Saga, by Siegfried, as one of the deadliest insults that he could hurl at any of his enemies. I submit to your Lordships it is because of that moral sense that the law we are trying to change to-day has come into existence and I certainly hope that your Lordships will continue to support it.


The noble and learned Viscount asked for our opinions. I should like to say that I sympathise with him, and the point of view he expressed, in wishing to pin the strongest possible condemnation on sodomy, but I believe that over-emphasis upon this particular issue is really putting a distortion upon the whole question before us. It is a two-way question. If we label one act a crime and others not, then, on the one hand, we may be bringing home to people the abominable nature of this particular act, but, at the same time, we may be suggesting to them that the others are not abominable because they are not criminal. I think we are strongly dividing the issue here. I would say, and I think that I represent others who have been speaking from these Benches, that we have supported the main proposal, not because we want to withhold our own condemnation of all these practices, each one of which is as disgusting as the other, but because we believe that they ought to be put on a level of personal, moral responsibility and not on the level of criminal offences. If we label one as criminal in this way, then I think we are suggesting to people that it is all right if they go a certain way, but not that way. That is just the opposite of what we want to secure.


We are engaged on the Committee stage of a Bill and, therefore, it behoves us to consider how this Amendment would operate. It is not enough to consider moral judgments on different kinds of action. As we have accepted the principle of this Bill on Second Reading, we should not accept any Amendment which is likely to prove unworkable or defeat the main purpose of the Bill. All speakers on Second Reading deplored homosexual activities. The main arguments that were put forward in favour of this Bill were, first, that this is the kind of matter, like adultery and fornication and Lesbianism, which is greatly to be deplored, but with which it is inappropriate and frequently harmful for the law to seek to intervene. Secondly, it was a fact that it does lead largely to blackmail.

As we have accepted the principle that the law relating to homosexuality should be amended, it seems to me that the passing of an Amendment of this kind would defeat a large part of the purpose of the Bill. It means that instead of a whole realm of deplorable private activities being removed from the purview of the police, there would still be an obligation on the police to seek to find out what exactly happened in private on some particular occasion. I cannot do better than quote what was said by the Parliamentary Secretary on Second Reading. He said that he regarded it not only as almost unworkable but as imposing an intolerable burden upon the police. He said: Such a distinction between one form of indecent conduct and others would have no apparent basis in logic or in morals. It would also make the already difficult task of the police in enforcing these laws quite impossible. How could they be expected to tell the precise form of indecent homosexual conduct which had taken place in private between consenting adults?"—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 266 (No. 79), col. 640, May 24. 1965.] I know that a great many people feel that the most important result of passing this Bill will be to do away with the opportunity of blackmail, which, on fairly authoritative evidence, has been said to amount to something like 90 per cent. of all cases that occur. It obviously would be extremely possible, and perhaps it would be easier, if this Amendment were carried and the Bill were passed, for blackmail of this kind to take place.

The main purpose of the Bill, as I understand it, is to give effect to the recommendations of the Wolfenden Report. The Committee spent many months going into the whole of this difficult matter. They saw many witnesses of every kind. Obviously it was put to them that a distinction should be drawn between sodomy and other kinds of homosexuality. They considered the matter most carefully and came to the conclusion that it was undesirable and unworkable that any such distinction should be drawn. When I say "any such distinction", I should make this correction: that they said they thought it would be appropriate that the law should distinguish in some way between buggery and other homosexual acts (I leave out some words which do not change the meaning) and the law ought to have regard to their gravity as measured by the circumstances surrounding their commission and not merely to the nature of the physical act". I hope that we shall give effect to the recommendations of the Wolfenden Committee. I believe that this Amendment would prove entirely unworkable and would largely defeat the purpose of this Bill, and would do so in a way which would give scope to increased blackmail in a realm which is already rife with that particular evil.


I will most certainly vote for this Amendment. I dislike the whole Bill and I think that this Amendment, if it is carried, will make it to some extent less objectionable. So far as I can see, this Bill has no chance whatever of becoming law. It is a Private Member's Bill and, presumably, when it goes to another place, it will take its place at the bottom of the queue of Private Members' Bills. And only the other day, the other place threw out a similar Bill by quite a substantial majority. What I cannot understand about this Amendment is the attitude of the leaders of the Church of England. I know what the most reverend Primate the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury and other right reverend Prelates have said in this House, but I cannot believe that the attitude which they are adopting will be approved by the great mass of the decent, honest, clean-living members of the Church of England. I have been a member of the Church of England all my life. But I wonder what is going to become of the Church, when we see the attitude of the Bishops on this Bill?


Is the noble Lord aware that the Wolfenden Report was given a long and careful debate in the Church Assembly and that it was overwhelmingly approved by the Church Assembly and, moreover, that a similar decision was taken by the Methodist Conference?


I know all that, but there are some occasions in this world when learned reports by learned people do not represent the real feelings of the mass of the people of the country, and I believe that that is the position here.

I was not present at the debate that took place on Second Reading. It came on a Monday—indeed, this is a Monday—and it was a bit rushed, after the previous Resolution had been carried. I cannot help feeling that the noble Earl, Lord Arran, spent some little time in trying to whip up support for it. The result was that this Bill was carried on Second Reading. A most admirable speech in that debate was made by the noble and gallant Viscount, Lord Montgomery of Alamein. I agree with every word that he said. I very much hope that the decency of the great bulk of Members of this House will make itself felt, in that, at any rate, this Amendment will be carried and thereby, to some extent, reduce what I consider to be the very undesirable effects which would result if this Bill were passed.


I rise to support what has been said by the most reverend Primate and others who have spoken in terms against this Amendment. I am sorry the noble Lord, Lord Rathcavan, should have imported the idea of decency or indecency into our motives in supporting or voting against this Amendment. We all have a very real revulsion for the practices with which we are dealing. I think, if I may say so, that the most reverend Primate and the right reverend Prelates have taken a very fine step in leading public opinion, as so many of us have been trying to do over the years.

The noble and learned Earl, Lord Kilmuir, said that the issue before the Committee was whether we should legalise and remove from the criminal code the act of sodomy; and, although he did not say so, I think he must have meant, between consenting adults in private. But why should there be anything wrong in this? The fact that it has gone on for 452 years is not necessarily a recommendation. This is what reform and change are about: that these things should be gone into, and should be looked at. And the Wolfenden Committee certainly did a thorough job. I believe that he would be a brave man who would go against the findings of the Wolfenden Committee. But, quite apart from that, there is a principle involved here, and that is the principle of the freedom of adults to behave as they wish in private, provided that they consent, and provided that no third parties are harmed.

I want to quote three short extracts from the Wolfenden Report. They said in paragraph 84: If, therefore, the question of the maximum penalty were to be considered simply in relation to its deterrent effect on the particular offender or to the possibility of successful treatment, there would be no clear case for attaching to buggery a penalty heavier than that applicable to other homosexual offences. They said also, in paragraph 87: There is therefore no convincing case for attaching a heavier penalty to buggery on the ground that it may result in greater physical, emotional or moral harm to the victim than other forms of homosexual behaviour. The noble and learned Viscount, Lord Dilhorne, referred to paragraph 89, in which the Committee said that there might be some case for "retaining buggery as a separate offence", but what he did not state was that they went on to say: But it is ludicrous that two consenting parties should be liable to imprisonment for life simply because the act of indecency takes a particular form, while they would be liable to only two years' imprisonment if the act took some other form which may be no less repulsive to ordinary people. This has been gone into most thoroughly. I hope that the House will be on the side of the reformers.


The most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury and his friends have not asked for my support, but as a Methodist Minister I give it most enthusiastically, and on one simple ground, namely, that it is our business—and I am sure that my friends of the Anglican Communion agree with this—not to follow public opinion, but to seek to lead it in the light of what we believe to be the Christian principle. What has emerged in the recent comments that have been made about this particular adventure in leadership is that the Church will not be behind us, and that the people of this country—moral, right thinking, and so forth—will reject what we seek to do. This I believe to be quite in error. Whatever may be the undemocratic elements that exist in this country, the Methodist Church is predominantly a democratic institution, and in 1958 the Methodist Church at its annual conference agreed enthusiastically, and almost unanimously, with the general priciples—not only recommendation I but also recommendation 7—of the Wolfenden Committee's Report.

In addition to what was said in the actual decisions to which the conference came, I beg leave to occupy just two minutes by saying two things which were appended in the document which was report of the Christian Citizenship Committee of the Church. I think they are germane to this issue. The first is that, whatever may be the particular æsthetic and moral objections to the practices of homosexual behaviour, they do not necessarily constitute crimes, and in this particular regard they do not as between consenting adults; and, secondly, that it is quite impossible, practically as well as in the actual commission of these particular offences, to discriminate between particular practices as if some have a greater abhorrence in the eyes of the godly compared to others. This is an impossibility, if only for the simple and, to me, irrefragable fact that there is, if it be a sin, quite often affection, compassion, tenderness and genuine love between those who are practising homosexuals. That does not, in my judgment, remove it from the category of sin. But it would be entirely improper, as it seems to me, to rule out these practices automatically as if they are constructed out of wickedness and practised in vice. They are unnatural; to me they are abhorrent—and I would use the word "abominable". But having said that, I am sure that to discriminate between certain areas of human behaviour, and to say that certain of these practices are abominable to the extent that they should entail a criminal prosecution, while others may be committed in private, seems to me quite unrealistic and quite illogical, and, I would say, heretical, as well. Therefore, I very much hope this Amendment will not be passed.


I think the Committee would wish quite shortly to proceed to a Division on this Amendment, but before we do so, I should like briefly to reply to some of the things that have been said in the course of the debate. I am sorry to have had this little argument with the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, who made some critical observations about my speech at the very beginning of the debate. They were obviously based upon a complete misapprehension, and I shall welcome his support in the Division Lobby.

The noble Lord, Lord Stonham, repeated the two observations which made on Second Reading. He did not seek to elaborate them by argument. He said that if this Amendment were carried the difficulties of the police would clearly be increased and that it would become virtually unenforceable.


The noble and learned Viscount will forgive me for interrupting. I certainly did not say that the difficulties of the police would be increased.


I am sorry if I made an incorrect note of the noble Lord's speech, but I am sure he will agree that the theme of his speech was that if this Amendment were carried the law with regard to sodomy would be virtually unenforceable.


In so far as acts between consenting adults in private were concerned.


With that limitation, if the noble Lord likes. May I point out to him that sodomy is more usually than not committed in private at the present time, and has been. What I say to the noble Lord is that keeping the law as it is with regard to sodomy cannot possibly increase the difficulties of enforcement. It is always difficult to deal with such crimes—sexual matters, rape or incest. The task of the police is difficult in all these cases, I agree. There may be many cases where the crime is committed and a prosecution cannot be brought. But the acceptance of this Amendment cannot conceivably make the offence of sodomy more difficult to establish than it is at the present time. That was the theme put forward by the noble Earl, Lord Arran, in seeking to resist the carrying of this Amendment, as it was of the noble Lord, Lord Molson. I would ask them to bear in mind that these inquiries, these investigations, and these prosecutions often relate to sodomy in private, to rape when there are no other members of the public present, and to incest also committed in private.

The real issue here is that put in one short phrase by my noble and learned friend Lord Kilmuir: Are we now going to make this sort of conduct, long established as an offence, cease to be an offence? He said that the arguments against this Amendment did not approach to reason. The strongest argument put against this Amendment was that put by the most reverend Primate, and I should like to add a word or two in answer to him. He sought to twit me for putting forward arguments as to why sodomy was a more abominable offence than an act of gross indecency, which was an offence created by the Labouchere Amendment. I will not take up time with that, because our views obviously differ; but I think I should make this rejoinder to him. He did not seek to put forward arguments to show why the change of the law which this Bill proposes would lead to increased morality. I was delighted to hear his strong expression of the view that homosexual practices were utterly abominable. There we can completely agree. But he went on to say, in the very next sentence, that he believed that this Bill would support morality. He did not put forward any argument.


May I interrupt the noble and learned Viscount? Of course I did not, because I did not want to indulge in a repetition of arguments used by myself and others at some length on the Second Reading. Your Lordships' House gave a Second Reading to this Bill, presumably in the belief that these measures, broadly speaking, would assist rather than hinder morality. What we are now discussing on this Amendment is a distinction between particular categories of homosexual behaviour.


The most reverend Primate has said that the House, broadly speaking, gave an opinion on the question of morality. I should have said that, broadly speaking, this House, on Second Reading, expressed the view that the law with regard to homosexuality should have some change. We are now discussing whether the change should extend to making sodomy lawful. What one has not heard argued at all, either on the occasion of the Second Reading or on this occasion, is why it is thought that making sodomy lawful, when it has been for so long unlawful, will in any way increase morality.

I have, of course, great respect for the views put forward by the most reverend Primate and the right reverend Prelates, and by those who take an attitude different from mine. But it seems to me to be almost a contradiction in terms to say that if we make abominable conduct, which has been unlawful for years, lawful, we are thereby going to increase morality. I must say that I thought when the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Chichester came to speak he rather gave away the case for the opponents to this Amendment. He said that if one is labelled a crime, that will suggest that the other, which ceases to be a crime, is less objectionable. I think I have stated it correctly. That means to say that people will be led to think that the other, which ceases to be a crime, is less wrong. Therefore, he argues, it would be much better to make both cease to be a crime.

The logical conclusion to his argument is not to change the law. But I come back to this point, in conclusion. In the course of my speech, I put the ques-

tion, was there any conduct in private which was so abominable in character that it was right for the law to treat it as a criminal offence? I put the question with regard to bestiality, one form of sodomy. I asked whether any distinction could be drawn between that form and the form now under consideration. No effort has been made to draw any such distinction at all. The noble Lord, Lord Byers, has again reiterated the proposition that for adults to behave as they like in private should be entirely lawful. If that be the test—if the test be that proposed by the noble Earl, Lord Arran—then, indeed, there is something to be said for treating bestiality as the opponents to this Amendment would treat sodomy between consenting men. I do not think it would be right to treat it in that way.

I say no more. I ask those who think that the Labouchere Amendment should be repealed and the Bill restricted to that, and that the law of sodomy should be left unaffected to support me in the Division Lobby.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment (No. 1) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 52: Not-Contents, 86.

Alport, L. Erroll of Hale, L. MacAndrew, L.
Ampthill, L. Fortescue, E. Mancroft, L.
Attlee, E. Goddard, L. Merrivale, L.
Auckland, L. Goschen, V. Middleton, L.
Blyton, L. Granville-West, L. Monsell, V.
Boothby, L. Greenway, L. Montgomery of Alamein, V.
Bossom, L. Grenfell, L. Rathcavan, L.
Brocket, L. Grimston of Westbury, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Brooke of Ystradfellte, Bs. Hobson, L. St. Helens, L. [Teller.]
Clifford of Chudleigh, L. Hodson, L. Shannon, E.
Crook, L. Horsbrugh, Bs. Shepherd, L.
Daventry, V. Howard of Glossop, L. Simonds, V.
Derwent, L. Iddesleigh, E. Somers, L.
Dilhorne, V. Kilmuir, E. Soulbury, V.
Douglas of Barloch, L. Lambert, V. Tucker, L.
Drumalbyn, L. [Teller.] Leatherland, L. Tweedsmuir, L.
Dudley, L. Lindgren, L. Williams, L.
Ebbisham, L.
Aberdeen and Temair, M. Boston, L. Chorley, L.
Addison, V. Bowles, L. Clwyd, L.
Ailwyn, L. Brabazon of Tara, L. Cohen of Brighton, L.
Airedale, L. Brain, L. Colgrain, L.
Archibald, L. Bridgeman, V. Colville of Culross, V.
Arran, E. [Teller.] Bridport, V. Colwyn, L.
Baldwin of Bewdley, E. Burden, L. Cranbrook, E.
Balfour of Burleigh, L. Burton of Coventry, B. Cromartie, E.
Bedford, D. Byers, L. Denham, L.
Beswick, L. Canterbury, L. Abp. Dinevor, L.
Blackford, L. Chichester, L. Bp. Emmet of Amberley, Bs.
Ferrers, E. Maugham, V. Savile, L.
Francis-Williams, L. Merthyr, L. Shackleton, L.
Gaitskell, Bs. Milverton, L. Sherfield, L.
Gardiner, L. (L. Chancellor.) Mitchison, L. Sinha, L.
Glasgow, E. Molson, L. Soper, L.
Grantchester, L. Monson, L. Sorensen, L.
Haire of Whiteabbey, L. Norwich, V. Stamp, L.
Hertford, M. [Teller.] Ogmore, L. Stonham, L.
Hill, V. Plummer, Bs. Strang, L.
Huntingdon, E. Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L. Strange of Knokin, Bs.
Jessel, L. Queensberry, M. Twining, L.
Kennet, L. Raglan, L. Wade, L.
Kinross, L. Rea, L. Walston, L.
Lincoln, L. Bp. Reay, L. Wellington, D.
Listowel, E. Redesdale, L. Wells-Pestell, L.
Lloyd of Hampstead, L. Royle, L. Woolton, E.
Longford, E. (L. Privy Seal.) St. Davids, V. Wootton of Abinger, Bs.
Manchester, L. Bp. Sandford, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to according

House resumed.