HL Deb 14 June 1977 vol 384 cc30-74

3.53 p.m.

Second Reading debate resumed.


My Lords, I have real pleasure in following the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, who has made a model speech of sense and sensibility—the first one in this debate. As between the two noble Earls, I should like to say that I will vote for the Second Reading of Lord Arran's Bill, though I will not go to the stake for it because I think that public opinion has to have a little further education on the subject. But I will go to the stake to oppose the Amendment of the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury.

My Lords, it seems to me that in regard to everything that the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, has said about homosexuals, I take an absolutely opposite view. I do not regard homosexuality as a disease or a sickness, or anything that could be put into those categories. I do not regard it as criminal. The criminal activities that may be suggested about homosexuals could equally be said about heterosexuals. Homosexuals do not necessarily go more for young people than heterosexuals. It is exactly the same kind of bad conduct that both can indulge in. I do not think that homosexuals are a menace. I think homosexuality is a perfectly natural thing. It is very natural in young people. Most people eventually become heterosexual. Some remain homosexual and there is nothing very wrong with that.

Nor do I wish to exaggerate any of the sexual deviations which we hear about these days. Nor am I in favour of the kind of pornography we have now, the pornography which is exploited. If it is, it is very largely due to the fact that we constantly advertise pornography by the kind of debates we have on it in this House. It is very remarkable that, as people grow older, and old, they seem to begin to try to shift their own guilt on to the younger generation. It seems that many of the things we have talked about in this House have contributed to the exploitation of a very ugly pornography. Exploitation will come about and will happen in all walks of life, whether it is in sex or money or whatever it is.

Sometimes when we in this House discuss sexual activities, I begin to think that we are discussing two models, plastic models of human beings, hermetically sealed, who are taking part in some kind of activity in private. We do not seem to he discussing human beings of flesh and blood at all. I regard the attitude of those who speak of homosexuals in terms such as used by the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, about prostitution, as a very unhealthy attitude indeed. I regard their attitude to the complicated aspects of sex as altogether unhappy.

My Lords, I have not written a speech. I simply wanted to pick up one or two things that have been said. Personally I might be prepared to trade the noble Earl's desire to lower the age of consent between consenting adults to 18, for the age for young men going into the Army being raised to 21. Why not have it that way round? It seems to me that there is as much to be said for raising the age of going into the Army as for lowering the age for homosexuals to get together. My Lords, I support the Second Reading of Lord Arran's Bill.

3.58 p.m.

The Lord Bishop of BIRMINGHAM

My Lords, although I have the fullest sympathy for people of a homosexual condition, and number some of them, as I suppose, among my friends, and certainly among those whom I much admire, I want at the outset of my contribution to this debate to make it plain, without, I hope, adopting any holier than thou attitude, that I regard homosexual acts as an undoubted deviation from the natural order, and in religious terms as contrary to the divine intention. It is not the purpose of law to signify approval of what is no longer subject to legal prohibition or penalty. It seems evident to me, as to other Members of the House, beyond any doubt, that since the passing of the Sexual Offences Act there has been an upsurge of support and clamour for the recognition of homosexual acts as normal. And there is equally no doubt that, just as changes in the law can be in response to public opinion, so changes made in advance of public opinion can influence and alter the public view of what is no longer subject to legal penalty.

But in this matter I do not regard the lowering of the age of consent as warranted by the present state of public opinion. Still less do I consider that to make such a change as is proposed would be supported by those—and I think them still to be a majority—whose standard of personal conduct is derived from their Christian sympathies, if not from their clearly expressed convictions. A primary purpose of the law is to protect, and in this area of the law that function is to protect young persons whose sexual development is not yet complete—to protect them from experiences which may deflect them from a normal development as heterosexuals into an exclusively homosexual orientation.

It is plain that there are widely differing judgments about the age by which sexual orientation is held to be complete. But even if this process is achieved well before the age of 16 in the great majority of cases, as some assert—and still more by the age of 18—there is still a significant minority to be considered and, as I believe, to he protected. It is argued that homosexual encounters have at most a minor significance in altering sexual orientation.


My Lords, has the right reverend Prelate any evidence for his statement that there is still a significant minority over the age of 18 whose orientation is not complete and who need protection? Is there any evidence to that effect at all?

The Lord Bishop of BIRMINGHAM

My Lords, the only evidence that I have is my own experience of people, and Bishops are not immune from consultation in matters of this kind. I cannot speak more generally—I wish I could. It is the absence of that evidence which greatly worries me in the context of this debate. Indeed, I do not know how these figures can be adequately substantiated. But such encounters on the part of persons, one of whom is a professed or admitted homosexual and the other not yet completely sexually orientated, can, as I know, leave a lasting scar on those who are the object of the overtures of other people. I do not believe that the time has come to make such encounters more possible and to bring them within the sanction of the law.

I admit that 18 years of age is now the recognised age of personal responsibility to do this and that in one way or another. But those things which are legally possible at the age of 18 are, in the main, concerned with actions about which there is no real moral conflict and therefore seem to me to provide a quite inadequate standard of argument and judgment. Eighteen year olds may be thought to have reached the age of full responsibility, not least in their own opinion. However, I do not believe that this is universally true, and the law should not lightly remove barriers to the exploitation of adolescents whose growth towards a stable heterosexual personality is still proceeding.

I strongly support the view that any reduction in the age of consent in this context must be accompanied by sufficient evidence of the sexual development of young people, in order to mitigate public suspicion about the corruption of young people, which is still very much in the minds of many folk. For most of my life I have been connected with the Boy Scout Movement. I am a vice-president of the Boys' Brigade, as perhaps others in this House may be, and I have had a long association with the National Association of Boys' Clubs. I believe that the point of view which I am trying to express represents the anxiety which the responsible leaders of these movements, who include in their membership a vast number of young people, feel about this Bill. It is out of my own concern that there stems a desire to reinforce the resolve of young leaders, not least in the Scout Movement as well as in other voluntary organisations, to resist temptation or inclination towards homosexual acts themselves. Again from this stems my concern, lest by their very membership of such organisations, they invite suspicion of their motives in this area of personal conduct.

It has been argued—and will again, I have no doubt, be argued—that young persons under the age of 18 are already protected by the provisions of the Children and Young Persons Acts. The care and protection jurisdiction of the juvenile courts is often cited, but it is also often questioned as to its adequacy. It is by no means clear that social workers who have to invoke that protection would welcome additional demands being placed upon that jurisdiction, and their views have not, as I believe, been sufficiently heard. I admit that many of us who speak from a professedly religious standpoint need to shift our emphasis from stressing the evil of homosexuality to proclaim the norm of heterosexuality; to assert that every person has a moral obligation to do everything in his or her power to attain this norm. I believe that the community has a real obligation to meet the needs of homosexual men and women and to do so with sympathy and understanding, accepting their limitations, if that is how they are regarded—and they certainly are by me—but without giving their sexual activities, if and when they occur, the cloak of normality and respectability at any age, whether below or above the age of 21.

We already have the Act of 1967 and I am not arguing that we should go hack on it. But enough is enough. So if this Bill is pressed to a Division I shall be compelled to vote against it, though I fully appreciate and respect the motives of the noble Earl, Lord Arran, in moving it. Whether I can support the Amendment in its present form, I still have to decide.

4.6 p.m.

The Marquess of LOTHIAN

My Lords, following the remarks just made by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham I have decided to support the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, in his Amendment. As some noble Lords may be aware, I was a member of the Wolfenden Committee which reported in 1957, and whose recommendations became the basis of the 1967 Act. Here we are again, ten years later, still discussing these matters. I shall not make a long speech. I do not wish to reopen or go into all the discussions that we had years ago on homosexuality and its causes, its treatment, the legal and penal aspects involved. Suffice it to say that I believe that the 1967 Act was a good Act and dealt with the situation very adequately. The noble Earl, Lord Arran, introduced his Bill today with great sincerity, which I respect. So I hope that he will not take it too amiss if I beg to disagree with him on this occasion, particularly in view of his general support for the aims and achievements of the Wolfenden Committee, which I trust we still share.

In considering this question of lowering the age for consenting adults in private to 18, I should like to mention two aspects. The first concerns the arguments and discussions that led the majority of us on the Wolfenden Committee to decide to recommend the age of 21. They are set out fully and, indeed, I think fairly, in paragraphs 63 to 71 of the report. I shall not weary the House by going into long quotations from them now. However, noble Lords will see that several options were considered at that time in length and in detail, and particularly the age of 18. It was admittedly a very difficult decision. Finally we came to the conclusion that we should recommend the age of 21 on what seemed to be the overriding ground—and here I shall quote shortly from the report—that: To fix it"— that is, the age— at eighteen would lay them [young men] open to attentions and pressures of an undesirable kind from which the adoption of the later age would help to protect them, and from which they ought, in view of their special vulnerability, to be protected". Ten years later Parliament upheld that view in the 1967 Act and I believe that it remains valid today.

How has the situation changed? What is the situation today? We know that the age of attaining legal adulthood has now been fixed at 18 years and we have been reminded of what this involves in terms of rights and responsibilities for young people reaching that age. I think the House will agree that these are certainly considerable and to some extent frightening. It is also true—and we have heard about this already today—that there is nowadays a much greater awareness about homosexuality and much propaganda regarding it. All this is aimed at making it appear normal and socially acceptable, and the pressures on young people, particularly susceptible young people, are greatly increased. As the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, reminded us, homosexual societies are common and homosexual publications are becoming ever easier to obtain.

I fear there is little doubt that homosexuality is on the increase. This was certainly not what the members of the Wolfenden Committee intended, and I suppose to that extent we have failed. Also it was not what Parliament intended in 1967, and I would hope that the same view is held by your Lordships today, for if this is, as I personally think it is, an undesirable state of affairs then I suggest that the lowering of the age to 18, however logical the grounds may seem in some respects, can only make matters worse.

It would, for instance, go some way to making life easier for what one might almost describe as homosexual bullies. One of the unfortunate symptoms of this condition is that it frequently enables the strong to intimidate the weak, and the powerful to intimidate the dependent, and the old the young. There has always been, and still is, a strong body of medical opinion which holds that many young men—I would not by any means say all—do not establish what is called a definite gender role until they are between the ages of 18 and 21. These are the people who, in my view, are particularly susceptible to outside pressures and influence and subtle forms of corruption and persuasion. This is precisely the age group that the Wolfenden Committee and Parliament have always wished, rightly in my view, to protect.

The noble Earl, Lord Arran, was frank and honest with the House when he said that he himself was of this opinion 10 years ago when he introduced his Act, although I think it would be fair to say that he thought perhaps the House and Parliament were being over-cautious at that time in that they were worried that the homosexual floodgates might be opened; fears which the noble Earl thought were groundless. But, alas! I do not think that those fears were so groundless as we all hoped. The 1967 Act, based on the Wolfenden Report, aimed at protecting adult homosexuals from unfair pressures, particularly blackmail. In supporting the right for consenting adults in private over the age of 21 we did, I think, recognise that it might be said that we were in some ways condoning what has come to be known as the permissive society. Certainly that was not our intention, although we realised that there was a risk in the course that we proposed. I, for one, certainly did not intend to see what I might almost call a submissive society appear where it seems that any actions which are now legally permitted are taken by too many people to be, if not compulsory, at any rate socially and in any other sense acceptable.

A further point was touched on by the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, and I just mention it here. He mentioned the National Association of Boys' Clubs, among other bodies, who have been making representations to him. I am very struck by the force of the argument that if the age of 18 is established it will only be the thin end of the wedge, because pressure groups tend not to he satisfied. I am pretty certain that if the age is lowered to 18 it will not be long before pressure is mounting again for a lower age still, or possibly no age at all.

There is one further broader point which I might mention concerning protection, and it is this: it seems to me that a man has as much right, and needs as much protecting, as a woman against intercourse which takes place against one's will. As women are rightly demanding that the laws on rape make it absolutely clear what does or does not constitute consent, surely there should be some similar law for men. Maybe there is; I do not know about this; but I raise it because if the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, who is going to reply, can enlighten me on this point I should be grateful, although it is slightly outside the scope of this debate.

In conclusion, may I say that I think that all noble Lords appreciate that the noble Earl, Lord Arran, has introduced his Bill with the most sincere and genuine motives. Personally I am equally sincere in thinking that the Bill, if it is passed, will lessen protection for young men and that the dangers which I have outlined may well come to pass, and that in the end the Bill will be seen to have done more harm than good. Therefore, I shall have great pleasure in supporting the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, in his Amendment if it goes to a Division in the House.

4.17 p.m.

Viscount INGLEBY

My Lords, I am very glad to follow the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, who speaks with special experience as a member of the original Wolfenden Committee. I should like to answer a point made by the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, earlier on, and I would remind the House that the noble Lord was a member of the Working Party of the Sexual Law Reform Society which advocated an age of consent of 14 for both heterosexual and homosexual acts, and in paragraph 5 expressed the view that any legal age of consent appears increasingly out of keeping with realities in the present day. The point was mentioned that the age should be the same as that for heterosexual offences. These two acts are of a completely different nature. One is in accordance with nature, one is against nature. The point was also made of the possibility of blackmail of young men between the ages of 18 and 21. If you protect a few people from the possibility of blackmail, you open the door to many more people to the kind of influences about which we heard earlier from the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury.

I should like to quote from a letter a teacher wrote to me. He is a teacher at a large comprehensive school in London. He said: I would just say that teachers are being put under great pressure in school these days from organisations like the"— bodies such as Family Planning Association, the Campaign for Homosexual Equality, the Albany Trusts— and even the National Youth Bureau (which is totally Government financed with grants from three departments) to cause young people to see homosexuality as 'normal, natural and right'. Those of us who teach sex education and personal relationships and who take a different view need all the legal help we can get that can reduce this pressure. Should the age of consent be lowered to 18 it won't be long before there are calls to bring it down to 16 or whatever the heterosexual age of consent may be, and should that be the case not only will our school pupils be under enormous pressure to experiment before they have had an opportunity to develop and mature into adult manhood (and I see that as being beyond 18—I think we were told in college that adolescence continues till about 24) but our task in school will be made so very much harder … You should also know that the Albany Trust and the Campaign for Homosexual Equality are putting great pressure on the Schools Council health education project team to include homosexuality in the next phase of their work—the 13–18 teaching material.". In addition to pressure from the sources I have mentioned, there is also pressure from the National Union of Students and I quote from the Daily Telegraph of 19th November 1973; I do not know that the NUS has changed its attitude since then: Sex education to teach children that homosexuality is an acceptable form of conduct is to be sought by the National Union of Students. The union is also calling for the establishment of a university chair of homosexual studies and for the right of a homosexual couple to adopt children". I also quote from a letter, written to the teacher I spoke of, from a hospital worker: I must first state that I am not a homosexual, but having worked amongst a few of them in my 20 years in mental work, I do feel great understanding for them. Sexual urges in very many people are so strong—like Freud's 'Id'—that it takes every ounce of our personality and God's help to deal rightly with them … I am what one might call a very liberal Christian theologically but definitely not a supporter of the 'new morality' which is only the 'old immorality' writ large.… The physical changes of anal penetration are never mentioned by pro-homosexuals. I saw one once in my old hospital. It would be a good thing to have lots of photographs of anal injuries caused by sodomy … The poor man I saw had a huge part of his bowels protruding from his anus. With no exaggeration it was as big as his head. How the surgeon got it back I will never know …". Of course we must do all we can to help people in this way, but is it any kindness to young men of 18 to 21 to open the net wide before them?

4.23 p.m.

The Earl of LONGFORD

My Lords, it is always a pleasure to speak following the noble Viscount, Lord Ingleby, especially when he is speaking on moral questions. I support very much what was said by the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Birmingham when he stressed the need, if we claim any sort of Christianity, to show a personal understanding of homosexuals. I myself, for what it is worth, have tried to show my good will towards them over the years. It is over 20 years ago, just after the publication of the Wolfenden Report, since I moved a Motion in this House supporting the Wolfenden proposals. Indeed, the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, described me at the time as the non-playing captain of the homosexual team. I hope he has not forgotten that tribute. I do not think I deserved it and after today's effort I do not think I shall retain that title.


My Lords, perhaps I might tell the noble Earl that that was only because I was largely instrumental in getting the Wolfenden Committee, which has my full support, set up.

The Earl of LONGFORD

In that case the noble Lord's unusual tribute came with all the more authority, my Lords. As time has gone on I have tried to show my good will to people handicapped in this unfortunate way. As a publisher, I have published books by homosexuals, including one by Mr. Ian Harvey, an old friend of mine, who has done much for the Campaign for Homosexual Equality. I have spoken at their gatherings and at meetings of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and, unless the invitation is cancelled after my speech today, I hope to be speaking to them again. Therefore nobody can accuse me of being hostile towards homosexuals. I fear, however, that today I cannot support the proposals of the noble Earl, Lord Arran, although I realise how genuinely he feels on this issue and if there is a vote I shall go into the Lobby behind the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury.

I may be asked—it would be reasonable if I were asked—how I was able to play such an active part 20 years ago in supporting the Wolfenden Committee while I am now against Lord Arran. The noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, spoke on that subject with special authority (he was a member of the Wolfenden Committee) and I will not try to duplicate his arguments. I may be asked whether I still accept what was generally treated as the main principle of the Wolfenden Committee, although it was not the only principle, one which I suppose was borrowed from John Stuart Mill, though it was not necessarily any the worse for that. The principle was that we should not interfere by law with anyone who was not harming anyone else; that we should not interfere with two people acting together if they were not harming anybody besides themselves. That was the central principle—as I say, borrowed from John Stuart Mill—and it was regarded as a new revelation when the permissive society was just coming into its own.

In my view, that principle provides a useful starting point for discussion, although I do not regard it today as Holy Writ. Consider one aspect of it. With the coming of drugs, for example, few of us now would say that we must never stop anybody from destroying himself by, say, heroin, and there are other examples where we intervene by common consent. There is a more fundamental point on which I must touch, and I was amazed by the speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, who seemed to be arguing that I perhaps more than anyone had increased pornography by raising it in this House.


Would the noble Earl give way?

The Earl of LONGFORD

My Lords, perhaps the noble Baroness will allow me to finish this part of my speech. Nobody has spoken with more frenzied ardour on that subject than has the noble Baroness. I will not pursue that, except to say that I was rather surprised to find that, somehow or other, while the enemies of pornography are supposed to be the people responsible for it, yet here she has championed pornography, so it is all too complicated for me, but let me return to the subject under discussion.

One believed, perhaps 20 years ago—I certainly may have believed this—that one could imagine somebody who was corrupted in isolation. Now I am afraid I do not think that happens very often, although it may happen occasionally; that somebody is corrupted but does not do any harm to anybody else. From all my experience of all these social questions over many years and over many investigations, it is my view that if one is well and truly corrupted, one will become an agent of corruption. Thus, I believe that the idea that if somebody is corrupted it is their own affair is a proposition at which one cannot look in the way one might have looked at it 20 years ago.

Nevertheless, I would say—I say this particularly to Lady Gaitskell, who feels so strongly about homosexuality—that we must think long and hard before we interfere with anybody's freedom to go wrong in their own way. We must think long and hard certainly in the case of any mature adult. But I think almost everyone agrees that young people deserve some sort of special protection, and the main problem is where we begin to draw the line. When I am talking of homosexuals—perhaps this is obvious from what I have said, but it might not be obvious or somebody might pick up a casual reference, a quotation of mine—I am of course referring to sexual practices, as was the right reverend Prelate and others; we are not referring to the unfortunate fact that one may be a homosexual.

No one, certainly no Christian and I do not think anyone with any ethical feeling, believes it is wrong to be a homosexual; it may not be one's own fault at all and most of us have known schoolmasters and university teachers, for examples, whose apparent preference for young men to young women has been the inspiration of lives of wonderful service. They have, so to speak, sublimated their homosexuality and have not practised it in the way in which it is coming under discussion today, with reference to the criminal law. But the vast majority of Christians still believe that it is morally wrong to indulge in sex outside marriage, though few of us would treat that as the worst of all sins or fail to recognise the need for compassion towards those who have erred in this direction. But what about heterosexual offences? The noble Baroness places heterosexual and homosexual offences on the same level. She has the most delightful daughters but she has no sons, and I cannot believe that, had she had sons—


My Lords, I have a very grown up son by my first marriage. I know about sons.

The Earl of LONGFORD

My Lords, I apologise. I know the noble Baroness's daughters, who are very charming. I do not for a moment believe that her son by her first marriage was a homosexual. I know enough to know that that is untrue, and all I can say is that had he been a homosexual I know that no one would have regretted it more than the noble Baroness. So far as that goes, we might leave that point there.


My Lords, may I interrupt my noble friend? I do not believe that he ought to put words into my mouth. I do not think that he ought to say things like that about what I would have felt or what I would have done. I should not dream of saying that to him about his children.

The Earl of LONGFORD

My Lords, the noble Baroness is perfectly entitled to say anything she likes about me or anybody else. I was only pointing out that very few people would, in their own families, put homosexual offences on the same level as heterosexual offences. I know that I should not. Very few people —and I believe that this would be true of the noble Baroness and almost all of us—would put them on the same level.

But what about heterosexual offences? We must consider this seriously. None of us will wish to minimise the damage done by the seduction of girls. I am not for a moment saying that that is moral, so here I am going along with the noble Baroness. The intention may be precisely the same. As far as the intention goes, I am not blaming the man who seduces a man more than the man who seduces a girl but, in the nature of things, the damage done is likely to be much more lasting. After all, girls may go on to marry, have children and lead an ordinary family life, but the young man who is either turned into a homosexual or confirmed in what is, for many people, a transitional tendency will go through life under a permanent handicap and will be denied a natural fulfilment. It has been implied by some of the speakers that by the time one reaches 18 one's disposition is settled for life. As anybody who has recently read the lives of some of our more talented authors will know, some people—in fact, many of us knew several at university—who were homosexual in their youth are now married with children and grand children. So one cannot for a moment argue that people's disposition is settled by the time they are 18 or 19.

Today, we are discussing the law and the application to a particular age group. Obviously, as has been said by more than one speaker, there is something arbitrary about all such legal distinctions, but I am assuming that nearly everybody present would accept the necessity for age limits of some kind. I understand that Gay News is urging that the age of consent should be soon reduced to 16 and, no doubt, if the Bill of the noble Earl, Lord Arran, is accepted, another Bill to that effect will soon be brought before your Lordships. I appreciate that the noble Earl has said he will not introduce it but I do not doubt that somebody else will.

The Earl of ARRAN

My Lords, in no circumstances would I introduce such a Bill.

The Earl of LONGFORD

My Lords, when the voting age is reduced to 17 I suppose that the noble Earl will abandon the arguments that have weighed with him this afternoon.

The Earl of ARRAN

My Lords, should be disgusted.

The Earl of LONGFORD

I dare say, my Lords. But suppose the voting age is reduced to 17. I should imagine that the noble Earl would be compelled to side with those who wished to introduce such a Bill.

The Earl of ARRAN

My Lords—

The Earl of LONGFORD

My Lords, may I beg the noble Earl to defer his point? He will have a further chance of speaking and I shall not. The real question is whether, if the present Bill is carried, young men of 18, 19 and 20 will have a better chance of leading a good and happy life than at present. I can imagine a few cases where this might be so, but in my estimation they would be very few. Unfortunately, the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, has had to leave for a while: I should have liked him to hear this. In the past 20 years of dealing with delinquents young and old I have become well aware that the years of 18 and 19 are crucial. In a high proportion of cases, they are the years when the destiny of young men may be decided for life. Here, I am not referring only to sex, but I know all too well of quite a few cases where young men of that precise age have been corrupted by middle aged men of wealth and position. You can call this consent if you like, but I call it seduction by bribery and I know of quite a few cases where that has occurred.

I am sorry to have to come out so strongly against the noble Earl, Lord Arran. As I say, I know the genuineness of his feeling, but I hope that the Amendment of the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, will prevail. I believe that it would be a terrible day for this House and this country if it failed.


My Lords, before the noble Earl sits down may I ask him whether he has never found any young women who have been corrupted by older men?

The Earl of LONGFORD

My Lords, I apologise if I said anything sharp to the noble Baroness earlier but I feel that she ought now to apologise to me because she clearly has not been listening. I said that a lot of young women were corrupted. That was a serious matter, but I said that it was likely to have a much more serious and lasting effect upon young men. I think that I said it twice, and I know that I said it once very clearly.

4.37 p.m.

The Countess of LOUDOUN

My Lords, I am always rather astonished that men should have so much to say on the subject of abortion. I should have thought that this was a subject on which men would have preferred to listen rather than speak. I wonder how much protest for and against abortion would be made if every man who had ever taken advantage of a woman, or desired to do so, remained silent. Homosexuality, too, is not just a subject for men. The child is our concern. Women's right to speak in defence of the innocent is greater than that of any man. The majority of men are afraid to speak on the issues that are of basic importance in our society. The label "do gooder" is almost the mark of public leprosy. Men show more concern over the right tie than they do over the right label.

The issue at stake is perfectly clear. Are we to encourage the infectious growth of this filthy disease by giving the authority of Parliament to the spreading of corruption and perversion among a new generation of young men and the younger boys in contact with them? We were so strong and swift to deal with the deadly danger of tobacco, but the trade in drugs, pornography and the sale of women and boys continues to prosper, and now we are asked for a further relaxation of the protective power of the law.

Listening to the news and reading the newspapers, I often wonder how many men in this Kingdom live on the fruits of crime. If there is one man living on the profits of, for example, prostitution who is as protected by the law as any other decent citizen and is not persecuted and prosecuted until his miserable trade is ended, then the law is at fault. The ability to live on the profits of crime is apparently a weakness of democratic society that we must accept.

Yet here we have a Bill to extend the tentacles of evil, to withhold the protection of the law from the innocent, the gullible, from the simple youth who has just arrived in the big city and the boy who is charmed and overcome by cheap flattery and easy money. In whose favour is it? No one's but the pervert and the money grubbers, waiting to pounce.

In the past, homosexual activities were looked upon not just as a crime against society, which I personally believe they still are, but as a sin. Clearly, to have these homosexual tendencies as a result of birth cannot be sinful. The psychologists have explained the reasons for homosexual behaviour, and no blame can be attached to those who suffer this handicap. But you cannot be a homosexual alone, which inevitably leads to the corruption and perversion of others, which is a symptom of the disease. So although it would be wrong to condemn, just as it would be wrong to condemn the victim of an attack of cholera, such an outbreak must be contained and isolated, not given a licence to multiply.

If indeed homosexuals are born and not made, then we could sit back and allow this Bill its course. In fact this is not the case. We meet children who are gentle and timid, and others who are tough and aggressive, but the homosexual inclination develops later. In some cases it develops inevitably, so we are told; in others it would remain dormant, even unknown, were these young people not corrupted by contact with perverts, and we now know that the inclination is quite common at a certain stage of a young man's development. Would it not be true to say that the majority of boys have homosexual inclinations, but develop an immunity through the example of good family life and of men whose ways of life they admire and on whom they model themselves? The framework of our society is the teaching and example of Christ. He is our model. There can be no accord between homosexual activities and Christianity. The homosexual can, of course, be a Christian, so long as he is struggling against his inclination, just as we all have to struggle—and not necessarily win. But the homosexual committed to the corruption of the innocent will have neither my approval nor my vote.

4.42 p.m.

The Earl of CORK and ORRERY

My Lords, if the words that have just fallen from the noble Countess, Lady Loudoun, had been her maiden speech, it would have been my duty to congratulate her. It was not her maiden speech, and it is not my duty but my pleasure to congratulate her—and I do it with all sincerity—upon a most excellent speech. That speech, together with the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, should between them, I feel, produce a definitive answer to the Bill of the noble Earl, Lord Arran. There is very little that can be added to the debate—and certainly not by me. But there is one thing which I wish could be removed; that is, the references which have been made to the age of majority. The age of majority, as I understand it, is that at which a person is thought old enough to accept the duties and obligations that fall to an adult member of society. No one will suggest, I suppose, that any homosexual practice, whether in public, or private, or anywhere else, is a duty to society or an obligation upon either of the persons involved in that particular act. Therefore the parallel does not exist there. As for the question of fighting for one's country, there is no age that I know below which it is illegal to fight for one's country, and to die for it has been done by many, quite regardless of age. This again has nothing whatever to do with the subject.

Let us forget all about the age of majority. This may be the official view of the Liberal Party, as expounded by the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley—and I am interested to know that the Liberal Party, alone, I believe, among Parties, has an official view; and I shall look forward to the influx of noble Lords coming from the Liberal Party into Lord Arran's Lobby, and indeed, I suppose, to listen to the powerful speech to be made by the noble Viscount, Lord Barrington, in favour of the Bill. I shall hear that with interest, and, I suspect, possibly surprise.

The noble Earl, Lord Arran, was good enough to give me a copy of the letter to which my noble friend Lord Campbell of Croy referred earlier. If I may also refer to it without impertinence, I should like to mention that he described this as a Bill to do with, "a man going to bed with a fella". If the noble Earl thinks, after hearing what the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, has said, that this debate in which we are engaged is simply about "a man going to bed with a fella" I shall, again, be enormously surprised. He said that he was going to speak entirely from reason. In fact this has been impossible, or has been regarded as impossible, I suspect, since some of the more extreme logicians among the mediaeval school men, who were able to debate such matters as how many angels could dance upon the point of a pin. It is necessary for reason itself to be based upon something. Reason by itself is a non-existent, and indeed—if I may use a logical term, as the noble Earl himself has used the word "logic"—it is a non-operational concept.

Upon what did he base this reason?—on very little that I can see, apart from the age of majority and some opinions of his own, but no facts, and no evidence. If there is an argument between two sides upon a Bill or an Amendment to a Bill (such as this), it is surely necessary to produce evidence for one argument and then for the other side to produce the evidence for the other side of the argument—

The Earl of ARRAN

My Lords, if the noble Earl will forgive me for interrupting, I thought that I had produced all the arguments that were necessary. I made it very clear, I thought.

The Earl of CORK and ORRERY

My Lords, in that case I misunderstood the noble Earl, and I apologise. I intended no offence, I assure him. But the point that I am about to make is not affected in any way. It is that I myself did not detect in the noble Earl's speech any evidence in favour of the argument that he has put forward—and I repeat "evidence". On the other hand, the other noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, whom, without offence to the former, I would describe as the slightly more painstaking noble Earl, has produced evidence, upon evidence, upon evidence—almost Pelion piled upon Ossa. On one side I see no argument in favour of the Bill of the noble Earl, Lord Arran, and I see total destruction heaped upon it by the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury.

The Earl of ARRAN

I am going to answer the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury.

4.48 p.m.


My Lords, I have not hitherto intervened in any debate in your Lordships' House on the subject of the place of the homosexual in society, but I feel that this debate today may be a landmark in the way it will be regarded in the future, and therefore I must do so, even if some of my points have, as usual, already been made. As one surveys the different attitudes adopted towards it, one is struck by the passionately held differing points of view—the width of the spectrum in which each and every person must have a place. At one end there are those who regard homosexuality as a sin before God, an abomination for which there can be no tolerance; in its physical form a disgusting perversion, which makes one feel quite sick. This band of the spectrum—

The Earl of ARRAN

My Lords, I hope that the noble Lord is not referring to me.


I certainly am not. I ask the noble Earl to listen to what I have to say, and I hope that I shall be able to get things straight. This band of the spectrum merges into that consisting of those who, while personally disapproving, and from their own make-up finding it completely incomprehensible, if not experiencing the same degree of revulsion, are prepared to accept that others may feel differently. They emphasise that as this is a free and tolerant society one is not justified in placing any limit on what adult individuals whose sexual proclivities have been fully and unalterably established, do in private, stressing though with great emphasis the word "adult".

This group merges into those who regard the homosexual less unfavourably —on the contrary, often very tolerantly and with great understanding. It may be that they have had urges in that direction at one stage of life themselves, or have had homosexual friends or relatives with whom they have great sympathy. Others may be solely motivated— and I expect that this applies to the noble Earl, Lord Arran—by pity or concern for the plight of all those who might be referred to as "unwilling homosexuals", who feel ostracised or alienated from society and who are desperately unhappy about their situation and feel that nothing can be done about it, though in fact an understanding psychiatrist might be of great help. Such "unwilling homosexuals" themselves form the next distinct group in the spectrum.

Next to them, towards the extreme end of the spectrum, are the gay liberationists, who glory in their proclivities and are out to proselytise and convert others to their way of life by every means in their power; a group that, as the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, stressed, are becoming increasingly active. In passing, it is a supreme irony that, had their own fathers been seduced by persons like themselves, they themselves would never have been born—a thought, I should have felt, hardly conducive to their so-called "gaiety". But even this is not the end of the spectrum of sexual proclivity and deviation. There are those, composed mainly, but not entirely of homosexuals (about 70 per cent., often young) known as paedophiles (I think they themselves prefer to pronounce it "piedophiles")—the child lovers—who indulge in sexual practices with young children and whose increasing proselytising activities are closely related to the gay liberation movement.

My Lords, I feel I must refer to this subject as the movement referred to as PIE, or paedophile information exchange, is gaining ground in this country, and also, particularly, in the United States. In the information sheet and membership form of PIE they state: We campaign for the legal and social acceptance of paedophiles. We believe it is inhumane to children to outlaw their sexuality and we support moves to lower the age of consent". PIE have in fact made a submission to the Criminal Law Revision Committee suggesting four as acceptable as the age of consent.

I have referred to this extremely unpleasant subject also because I believe that the subject of the age of consent for homosexuals cannot be considered in isolation. It is all part of the slippery slope of sex permissiveness, which includes the legal age of sex relationships with young girls as well as the child victims of the paedophile movement. It is a slippery slope on which it would be impossible to maintain a foothold for long once the first step had been taken. So far as the homosexual is concerned, it is clear that the proposed age of 18, I think, as other noble Lords have mentioned, is only the first step, from the letter that I and, I expect, other noble Lords have received, along with a book entitled No Offence by Bob Sturgess, which was sent by the information officer of the Campaign for Homosexual Equality. In this letter asking for support for this Bill today, he also asked, …for support for an amendment which will be introduced to lower the age of consent to 16". Nor, of course, would it stop there if the legal age for sexual intercourse with girls were ever to be lowered from 16. Chip away at the safeguards to protect the youth of the country little by little and one by one, and the aim of the advocates of sex permissiveness will be achieved. My Lords, they must not succeed.

In deciding how I shall vote over this Amendment I ask myself but one question, and it is this. How should I feel if a son or grandson of mine were to develop into a homosexual? What I and, I am sure, all must wish for their own is that they should achieve the greatest measure of fulfilment and happiness possible in life. Could they achieve this if they were to develop a relationship which would make family life and the having and sharing of children an impossibility? One of the supreme joys of life, parenthood, in which grandparents also share, would be lost to them for ever.

It is true, as is pointed out in the book No Offence to which I have referred, even if a man is heterosexual he may not marry. But there is always a chance that he might, and marriage is always open to him. It is pointed out in the book also that, even if married, the couple may be childless; but adoption and a happy family life are usually open to them. The fully homosexual state shuts the door completely. Of course the homosexual may have other outlets for a creative urge. One has only to think of all those who have greatly enriched music, the arts and other creative spheres: but what a tragedy, my Lords, that in such cases there is no possibility that these talents might be passed on to their descendants, as otherwise might be the case!

The breakdown of the procreative function of man, essential to the survival of the human race, can only be regarded as unnatural—again, whatever may be said to the contrary in the book to which I have referred. The argument put forward, that if homosexuality is propagated sufficiently widely this would provide an effective means of world population control, hardly need to be taken seriously. The least fertile ground for such propaganda is likely to be in the developing countries, where the need for population control is the greatest; and in the developed countries, such as our own, apart from any other consideration, the record low birthrate must now be a cause for concern even to the most fervent advocates of birth control in the past—but that, of course, is the subject for another debate.

My Lords, in the question I posed I referred to the wish for the greatest possible happiness for my children and grandchildren, and in fact, of course, for all young people. This is concerned not solely with finding a happy family life but also with their adjustment to society. In a letter I have received from a senior probation officer, Mr. Kavanagh, he writes as follows: For the past 20 years I have dealt in a professional capacity with youths and men who are homosexually orientated, in approved schools, in prisons and before the Courts, many of them for offences not of a sexual nature but which sometimes arise from the frustrations of being sexually incomplete—unable to relate to the opposite sex—and who feel unable to compete on equal terms with members of their own sex. I set out my personal view below. The campaign to persuade society that homosexuality is as natural as being red-haired or left-handed is nonsense, and cruel nonsense. Many men who are sexually incomplete and know only too well the disadvantages are being pressured to deny their anxiety and pretend it does not exist. One of them has talked of the 'hell of alienation', not just alienation from society but the alienation born of not being firmly established emotionally as a member of the sex to which they belong anatomically. Those of us who are preparea to listen to them know well the evil and cruelty of a campaign which equates their situation with the colour of hair". So writes this probation officer. As a postscript I might add that the most pitiful figure of all is the elderly homosexual obtaining his sex relationships only by paying for a male prostitute, sometimes very young, who is frequently provided by a vice king and is a potent reservoir for transmission of veneral disease, to which I shall refer later.

My Lords, I do not believe there is one of your Lordships who would not do everything possible to minimise the risk of such a fate for those near and dear to us. In the question I posed I referred also to their developing into homosexuals —vitally important words in the context of this debate. I do not propose to go into the questions as to how far homosexual tendencies or a liability to over-react to the possible environmental influences suggested, such as a domineering mother and so-called "weak" father, may be genetically transmitted, as these are very contentious. What seems to be generally accepted is that boys and girls frequently go through a homosexual phase, as has been repeatedly stressed today. In general the fundamental questions to be answered are: at what age does this usually transient homosexual tendency pass into the permanent heterosexual proclivity and how far can this transition be influenced by contact with and the advances of the adult practising homosexual?

So far as the question as to the age at which the young man's sex makeup is stabilised is concerned, there is no reason whatever to equate this with the age at which the vote is given, enlisting in the Armed Forces and, if necessary, being expected to fight for one's country or even the age at which normal heterosexual activity is legally permitted in girls, or any of the other criteria on which the exponents of homosexual reform base their case.

The age for legal homosexuality, it seems to me, can be determined by reference to biological factors alone, whatever may be their underlying mechanisms. Just as the extent of potential hetero- or homosexuality varies in different individuals, so does the age at which one or other tendency is confirmed; and the law must take account of the late heterosexual developer which it does at present by setting the age of consent at 21. The power of the adult practising homosexual over a young man needs no emphasis. In a position of influence he can bind him to his will: "Consent or else!"—and those between 18 and 21 at university or starting out in certain careers are particularly vulnerable. Heaven help those who may be subject to such blackmail if this Bill goes through!

My Lords, in conclusion, as a bacteriologist I must refer briefly to that great social problem the spread of venereal disease which is greatly accentuated if not dependent upon promiscuity—a characteristic feature of the homosexual relationship with the young adult. I need not enlarge on the problem of the increase in venereal disease in general. I have done so many times before. But in relation to homosexuals the following facts are relevant. Ten years ago syphilis was becoming so rare that it was difficult to find material to instruct students in diagnosis. Now, it is relatively common and ample material is available. Out of 100 new cases reported in one teaching hospital, 80 were in male homosexuals, many of them young. Gonorrhoea is about ten times as common as syphilis and in the same hospital about one-third of the new cases were in male homosexuals. In addition to this is a report referred to in The Times of 16th February this year in which it was stated that a viral disease known as hepatitis B which can lead to jaundice and also to chronic liver failure can be transmitted venereally and particularly among homosexuals. It has been referred to by Dr. Duncan Catterall as now the most serious sexually transmitted disease.

My Lords, I shall not detain you further. But, in conclusion, these are the reasons why I shall follow the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, into the Division Lobby this evening and I hope that your Lordships will see to it that his Amendment is carried overwhelmingly and that this Bill is heard of no more.

5.4 p.m.


My Lords, I rise to support the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, in his Amendment. Before doing so, I have been asked by the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, who has taken part in similar debates recently, to express his regret at not being present owing to an engagement in Scotland which he could not break and to express his agreement with the Amendment. I have also been specifically asked by the Boys' Brigade and by the Association of Boys' Clubs, in both of whom I have held honorary positions, to say that they agree with the Amendment of the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury.

My Lords, I wish to support the Amendment on two grounds: one is corporate and the other individual. First, on corporate grounds, quite rightly most speeches have been dealing immediately with the immediate situation, but I think it is important that at least one speech should see the issue in a wider setting. I refer to the fact that we live in a world of permissiveness which has not been exceeded since the time immediately preceding the collapse of the Roman Empire. Solely for the sake of brevity, I want to see this in terms of the Ten Commandments, to show how I think it is related to other issues that we cannot afford to scorn.

First: "Thou shalt not covet." Seven years ago—and I referred to this in this House not long ago—there was a London bank which had a very large investment in the Cabora Bassa Dam. The Cabora Bassa Dam was built largely to assist apartheid in South Africa. Some students wished to protest, and each took a share in order that they might be present at the annual meeting. At that meeting, they tried to protest against this use of money from London for this purpose. The chairman of the foreign section of the bank got them together in his room afterwards and said to them: "You young men must understand that international trade is now so intertwined that if you bring principle into it there would be no international trading." In other words, where profit is concerned to blazes with principles—and that from the chairman of a bank.

To be more up to date, in the recent accusations against Leyland regarding bribes, set at nought by the discovery of forgery, before the discovery, no less than the Director-General of the British Overseas Trade Board, Sir Fred Catherwood, rushed into print by way of an interview with a newspaper to assure us that bribery was not a crime in certain countries and that unless we indulged in it in those countries we might lose 600,000 jobs. So where profit is concerned, let principle go! "Thou shalt not covet" is gone by the board. This is our atmosphere.

"Thou shalt not kill". I need not take time on that in a nuclear age; but not enough people know that the President of the United States has said that he may use nuclear weapons before the Russians use them. Not enough people know that when asked by two Congressmen whether he was ready for the Russians, a recent President said: "I have only to take up that telephone and say the code word, and 70 million men, women and children will be dead in half an hour" Not enough people know that, so precipitate is nuclear warfare, there will be no time to go to Parliament to decide whether to go to war. This means that it is going to he decided for us by the President of the USA, and that we may wake up one morning to find that we are involved in nuclear war in order to prove the superiority of Christianity over Communism and that we are likely to kill 70 million men, women and children in half an hour. This is the mood and atmosphere in which we are, since we have got away from ultimate moral principles.

In the matter nearest to the subject. "Thou shalt not commit adultery", not enough people know that in Italy there have been 1 million abortions in the last recorded year, and that in the USA in the last recorded year there were more abortions than births; and, as everybody knows, the vast reason for this is just simply lust on the part of men—and there is the unbelievable experience of sadness of over 1 million women at the moment when it should be their greatest hour. I am saying that, in the light of this mood and this significance, this Amendment has its own place; just at the moment when in the United States, they are making great moves against pornography—and I can give details about that—and just at the moment when in Florida, as in the Press in the last week, there has been a great move against homosexual practice. It seems a pity that this House should hack such a Motion as this at this moment. Or, in terms of our own country, when the Jubilee celebrations have been so glorious in their amazement to everybody in the determination of our country to go new ways, what lack of imagination it is that at that same time we should be speaking in the terms that seem to be the terms of this Bill.

My only other point is a shorter one. It is on the individual level and it has been made by the noble Lord who preceded me. Anyone who has the job of giving pastoral counselling to young men in distress in this regard knows that it is precisely between the ages of 19 and 21 that there appear to he homosexual tendencies which, in fact, can disappear. I could give six cases which occur to my mind at once, though I would not give them, of young men who thought that they were permanently in this situation and were begged to continue living in normal relationship. All of them are married now, and with young children. Had they lived in the present climate, they would have been led astray for the rest of their time just by the present mood, which is in terms with a mood with which we cannot afford to be critical by reason of the background I have given.

If this Bill is passed, rest assured that scores of young men will be led up the garden path who might otherwise shortly be married and be happy; this will be caused simply by the mood that we seem to be assisting if we pass this Bill. I know there are some who cannot help it for they are made that way; and, in all sincerity, we express our deep sympathy. But are they the only people who are made in a particular way and cannot help it? What about kleptomaniacs? Could not some of them start a gay kleptomaniac movement to allow them to meet together in a gay kind of way and decide how best to raid Woolworth's?

My Lords, you say I am joking; but I am not, because money happens to be our real god and not the god of morality, to whom we are said to pay court. Right across the hoard we have given up the god of our morality and money has become our god. If we do not want to topple, as the Roman Empire toppled, let us defy all legislation that attempts to unseat the moral law.

5.12 p.m.


My Lords, not for the first time I must disappoint your Lordships by rising to speak when I had decided to scratch my name off the list of speakers. I know that most of your Lordships have made up your minds and want to get on to the vote. The reason I do so is not that I have been tempted by Lord MacLeod of Fuinary's references to abortion with which, as I think he knows, I thoroughly agree; nor to contradict him in saying that our god is Money—though I think at the moment it is Sex. The reason I am speaking is that I was needled by the noble Earl, Lord Cork and Orrery, into contradicting an impression he had and which some of your Lordships may have had from the otherwise excellently clear, and very courageous speech by my noble friend Lord Beaumont, to the effect that supporting Lord Arran's Bill was the unanimous policy of the Liberal Party. I think that was a misunderstanding, and I think I am speaking with permission when I say that it is certainly not unanimous policy. Having listened to all these speeches—though I had made up my mind before—I intend on this occasion to support Lord Halsbury's Amendment.

So many points with which I agree have been made so clearly that, in view of the shortage of time, I will not speak further except to defend myself to my noble friends. Unconsciously—they are too polite to say so, unlike the charming late Lord Silkin who once accused me of being a hyena—they, I think, have accused me in the past of being a Roman Catholic and a Reactionary. Which is the more serious crime I do not know. In fact, I am neither. But they may tonight think I am also an opponent of progressive legislation. I am not; I am entirely in favour of much progressive legislation. But, like all good things, I think it has two dangers: I think it can go too fast, and too far, as when a traveller—and here, my Lords, before I sit down, may I quote lines from a Victorian poem which was better known in Browning's time than our own: As when a traveller from North to South Scorns fur in Russia; what's its use in France? In France, spurns flannel; where's its need in Spain? In Spain, cuts cloth, too cumbrous for Algiers. Linen goes next; and last, the skin itself, A superfluity in Timbuctoo. Where in his journey was the fool at ease? It may be said on moral matters we should not mind being flayed alive for a good cause; but the point I should like to make is that a journey from North to South does not end at Timbuctoo. If one goes on on the assumption that the climate is going to get warmer and more comfortable, and having shed one's skin one can shed one's flesh and presumably a lot of blood, and arrive further South as a happy skeleton, by the time one gets to the Antarctic I believe that any muscles left would be stiff and that literally the marrow might be frozen in one's bones. That has happened to civilisations in the past. All of us agree that it would be a pity if it happened to ours. I believe that this debate is a minor milestone in an attempt to arrest that. My Lords, I apologise for speaking for three minutes when I meant to speak for one.

5.15 p.m.


My Lords, I greatly sympathise with the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, in the unpleasant after-taste with which his very thorough researches left him. I am sure that my reaction would have been exactly the same had I been allocated the same task. But with all respect, his findings do not seem to me to have much to do with the Bill under discussion. Either the male prostitution and quasi public practices which he found are already illegal and the law ought to he enforced, or they are not illegal but perhaps ought to be made so, in which case the restrictions ought to apply across the board to all ages and not merely to those between the ages of 18 and 21.

I should like to take up briefly a point made by my noble friend Lord Stamp in which he spoke about "late heterosexual developers". Is it not the case that the evidence unanimously given by medical witnesses to the Wolfenden Committee was that a person's sexual tendencies are established early in his or her life, which I take to be before the age of puberty? If this is the case, surely this Bill could not make very much difference one way or the other.

Listening to today's debate which to a considerable extent retrod the ground which we covered 10, 11 and 12 years ago, I could not help thinking, not for the first time, how much more sensibly they order these matters in Latin countries. In France and in Italy people do not, on the whole, lie awake at night worrying themselves sick about what other people may or may not be doing within the four walls of their bedrooms. In consequence, there have never been laws making certain types of private behaviour a criminal offence.

There is a significant corollary to this way of looking at things: because of the absence of vindictive and Draconian legislation, there is consequently an absence of guilt feeling; and, accordingly, there is not the excessive indulgence towards blatantly provocative and exhibitionist behaviour that we find all too often in this country. Indeed, in Paris or Rome a homosexual who behaved in a publicly offensive or proselytising manner, particularly if it were suspected that young people were involved, would quickly find himself on the verge of being hurled into the Seine or Tiber respectively, leaving the majority of homosexuals, who conduct their intimate lives with the same discretion and decorum that the majority of heterosexuals do, to get on with their lives in peace. It seems to me a great pity that this pragmatic, down-to-earth and unhysterical way of regarding the matter could not be more widely adopted in Anglo Saxon countries.

On this subject I hold two things to be axiomatic: first it is degrading to society, as well as to the individual policemen who are compelled to carry out the task, to force the police to peer through keyholes of people's bedrooms—whether literally or metaphorically—except in the most extreme circumstances. The second is that in a free society adults have the right to conduct their own private lives as they wish so long as third parties are not harmed thereby. The operative words are "private" and "adult".

I agree entirely that public homosexual behaviour of an intimate nature is far more offensive than public hetero-sexual behaviour would be. I totally disagree with what the Campaign for Homosexual Equality maintain, that there is no difference between the two, and think it is absolutely right that the law should be harsher in this respect. I should also like to mention that I would resist absolutely any move to lower the age of homosexual consent below the age of majority; I think that would be utterly wrong. With all respect to the noble Earl, Lord Longford, I do not think there is any chance whatsoever of the age of majority being lowered to 17.

The real nub of what we are discussing today is the word "adult". Eight years ago the age of majority was lowered from 21 to 18, although there was no overwhelming demand for this on the part of young people, and although many of us doubted the wisdom of lowering the age by a full three years, for reasons quite unconnected with the Bill before this House today. Nevertheless, in the mistaken belief, I suspect, that it would be electorally disadvantageous to oppose the move, such doubts as existed in this country were stifled, and we are now faced with the fact that the age of majority is 18 and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future.

That being the case, what could engender more cynicism, more resentment and more contempt among young people for the values, the teaching and the traditions of their elders than the prospect of the older generation conferring the privileges of adulthood upon the 18 to 21 year olds with one hand in order to get their vote, while seeking to remove an important aspect of those privileges with the other hand, at least so far as the private lives of young males are concerned. It is not just the small homosexual minority that would seethe with justifiable resentment but the enormous heterosexual majority as well. I can assure your Lordships of that.

I consider that the dangers to the long-term health and cohesion of this country that would result from such resentment far outweigh such small risks as might result from the successful passage of this Bill. For that reason, and because I believe the Bill to be essentially just, I shall have no hesitation in joining the noble Earl, Lord Arran, in the Division Lobby this evening.

5.22 p.m.


My Lords, I, too, support the noble Earl, Lord Arran, and I have done so in the past on a number of occasions. He has been a standard-bearer of liberty movements over the last few years in your Lordships' House. This Bill is in line with his earlier efforts. Its prospects at the moment look a little bleak, but he certainly has the support of quite a number of us. As one who now seldom rises to his feet in your Lordships' House, I feel that I owe him my support this afternoon, even as a voice from the past.

I do not propose to make a long speech, commenting on speeches made earlier. The noble Lord, Lord Monson, who has just resumed his seat, seemed to me to let a fresh breeze of logic and reason into the debate, which has been marked by a number of the most outrageous arguments I have ever heard put forward—and that includes a category of very outrageous ones indeed. The noble Viscount, Lord Barrington, said he felt he might well be accused of being a reactionary. I have no hesitation whatever in describing him as a thorough reactionary and of saying that there has been more reactionary twaddle talked this afternoon than I have heard for a very long time.

The only other speech I should like to refer to is that of the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, who, in an interesting speech which was to some extent at least founded on the report of the famous Committee of which he was a member, told us how long the debates in that Committee had been as to whether or not they should recommend the reduction of the age of consent from 21 to 18. He said that, after long and careful consideration, they decided that 21 was the proper age. That no doubt is right and at that time I think I should certainly have agreed with them, because 21 was the age of citizenship. The noble Lord, Lord Monson, pointed out—and it cannot be emphasised too strongly—that after years of very careful discussion in your Lordships' House, in another place and throughout the country, it was decided that 21 had become too old a year for citizenship to be taken on by the people of this country and that full citizenship should start at 18 rather than at 21, as in the past.

Surely, it is logically completely indefensible to make an exception in a case of this kind. Sexual freedom is as important as any other kind of freedom; and this is an absurd exception to be left on the Statute Book, as it will be if the vote goes in the way that the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, hopes. I hope that your Lordships will pay very close attention to this particular point, because it is not only illogical but ridiculous and absurd that, after all this discussion and careful deliberation, when 18 has been chosen as the age for citizenship, you should make an exception of this kind. I shall therefore vote, without much hope but with conviction of principle, in favour of the Motion that we give this Bill a Second Reading.

5.26 p.m.


My Lords, because of the several organisations with which I am associated and which have approached me on the subject of this Bill, and perhaps because this very Friday I am opening the new local headquarters of the district Boy Scouts of which I am President, I have decided to put the case, as I see it, for those youth organisations. Rather than putting it all on to myself I have here a letter, which I should like to quote to your Lordships, from the noble Lord, Lord Baden-Powell, who cannot be here. It refers peculiarly to the Boy Scouts. This is what he says: Apart from the moral, religious and psychological issues involved in this attempt to lower the age of consent for male homosexual acts, there is the consideration of the effect on the young people themselves. The older age training section of the Scouts' Association—the Venture Scouts section—is involved with young people of both sexes between 15 and 20 years of age. I am a Venture Scout leader and I am aware that young people today are very much more sexually aware and frank than at any time in the past hundred years. They are not the little innocents we would believe them to be. However, the effect on these young people when an approach has been made to them by an older person—a not uncommon experience—is traumatic. They are not mature enough to know how to cope with and rebuff the advance, particularly if the approach has conic from someone physically stronger than themselves. I have seen young men return from such an encounter white with fright and, in an alarming number of instances, they have known they have only been saved by their assailant's ultimate fear of the law as it now stands. It is sometimes argued that some homosexuals are not attracted to younger men. That may be so, but there are enough who are to make even the present law inadequate. These young people, after such an encounter, affect much bravado in front of their peers but it does have a deep and lasting impression on them beyond reasonable bounds, as they are haunted by the fear of further approaches which they will not be able to contain. I have known such an approach to have had a positively detrimental effect on an individual's work and social relationships for a considerable while afterwards. I have not yet observed, thank God ! what effect is made on the young person when the approach has been pressed to a conclusion. In those circumstances, who is to say if consent is freely given or given under duress? The awful effects on that young person's mind are beyond comprehension. These observations are not mine alone, but are also those of virtually every other Venture Scout leader with whom I have discussed this problem. We all agree that these approaches by older men to our members and the consequent lasting traumas are the single most recurring problem we face as leaders of that age group". I think that that is a better way of expressing what I want to say.

The only other point that I should like to make is that what I find so repulsive nowadays is the arrogance of these homosexuals, especially in their publications, and I am looking forward to hearing the answer of the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, to the question of the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, as to whether these publications will be allowed to continue.

5.31 p.m.

The Lord Bishop of NORWICH

My Lords, I should like to apologise to the noble Earl, Lord Arran, and to your Lordships for having come so late to the Chamber at the end of a debate of such importance. I had to be in Cambridge for a centenary meeting, where many of my brother bishops were also present, and I apologise profusely for missing the opening part of the debate. But I have been so overwhelmed with the tremendous pressure from young people, and from organisations of all kinds concerned with young people, that I feel I must share that fact briefly with your Lordships. All of us who are on the Bishops' Bench are in touch with young people, and my senior colleague beside me has made his own clear speech earlier this afternoon. But when one lists the National Association of Boys Clubs, the Scout movement, the Pathfinder movement, the Colleges Department of the universities, the Colleges Christian Fellowship, of which last year I was president, and the Anglican Committee of the Boys' Brigade, of which I am chairman, it will be seen that I have personal knowledge of the extreme concern of almost every organisation working among senior young people, who are totally and unitedly against this Bill.

Secondly, I should like to say that I believe the Bill to be both illiberal and cruel. I say that it is illiberal, because it takes away the liberty of our growing and senior adolescents, who are between the ages of 18 and 21, to go on developing in natural and harmonious psychological ways, and removes the cover for them in those vital years. Those of us who are parents—and I have three in my family who are between the ages of 14 and 21—recognise that this Bill is illiberal and cruel, in that it will put at risk the growing number of young people of that age, who will not have the protection which they have at the moment.

I say that it is cruel, because there is physical danger in homosexuality. There is also moral danger and, from the simple Christian point of view, the matter of sin in homosexual relationships. There is, too, the compassion, love and care that need to be shown to those who may be going through a formative period in their sexual lives, and have not yet found themselves as persons, and who at this stage can he hurt for many years if this Bill is passed. I therefore believe it to be both illiberal and cruel. Though not all of us may be able to vote for the Amendment—I shall do so myself if it goes to a vote—I hope that all of us who are engaged in the care of young people will not vote for this Bill, quite simply because we have a responsibility for the family, for the individual and for the nation. The opening of the flood gates of further sinfulness in this way can do nothing but harm. I do not believe it to be a liberalising Bill, because it puts the best of our young people, who are aged between 14 and 21, at risk in half a dozen different ways. I speak briefly, because we are near the end of a long and important debate. But I believe that we should be failing in our duty at this period of our nation's development if we allowed this Bill a Second Reading.

5.35 p.m.

Viscount MONCK

My Lords, I apologise to your Lordships for rising at all, particularly because what I am going to say has been referred to more than once in this debate. I want only to state officially that the National Association of Boys Clubs is entirely opposed to this Bill—and very strongly so—and in favour of the Amendment. I say "officially", because I happen to have been a vice-chairman of that Association for 39 years.

5.36 p.m.

The MINISTER of STATE, HOME OFFICE (Lord Harris of Greenwich)

My Lords, I know that we all listened with care and attention to the speech of the noble Earl, Lord Arran, in moving the Second Reading of this Bill, and I am certain that we are all grateful to him for having given us an opportunity today to debate this question. As on previous occasions when matters of this character have been debated, it is customary for the Government to remain neutral and to allow the issue to be decided according to the consciences of individual Members of this House. We propose to follow the same course today and, indeed, I think that we have probably been strengthened in our resolve as a result of the discussion which has taken place between the noble Viscount, Lord Barrington, and the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley, as to what exactly is the policy of the Liberal Party on this question. It is pre-eminently a question on which—


My Lords, there is absolutely no doubt about the policy of the Liberal Party. It is this Bill. The noble Viscount, Lord Barrington, quite rightly exercises his right to dissent from it on this occasion.


My Lords, I am delighted that this matter has been clarified, as I am sure is the whole House. I am also sure we welcome the fact that Members are allowed to dissent on matters of conscience, as apparently the noble Viscount is doing, from decisions taken by that Party. Nevertheless, it is right that matters of this kind should be left to the consciences of individual Members, both of this House and of another place. This is not a matter for Party decision. It is manifestly not such a question.

Before I come to the substance of this debate today, I should like to deal with one point which was raised by the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury, who asked whether certain publications were unlawful. Clearly, I should not be in a position to answer without knowing something about the publications. But, in any event, quite apart from that, it is not for the Government to answer a question of this kind. The Government are not responsible for a matter of this kind. This is a matter for the prosecuting authorities; in the first instance, the Chief Constable of the force concerned, where the publication takes place, or, alternatively, the Director of Public Prosecutions. Certainly, if the noble Earl believed that a publication in his possession represents in some way a breach of the law, he would be well advised to draw it to the attention either of the Chief Constable of the appropriate force, or of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Turning now to the substance of the debate which we have had today, I think I should make it clear at the outset that, while we certainly fully appreciate the sincere motives that have led the noble Earl to introduce this Bill, there are a number of factors which we consider the House will want to take fully into account before deciding whether it would be appropriate to give this Bill a Second Reading. Your Lordships will recall the origin of the present law, and indeed there have been many references to it in the debate today, not least in the speech of the noble Earl who introduced this Bill. It was based on the Wolfenden Committee's recommendation, which set 21 as the appropriate age at which homosexual acts in private between consenting adults should for the first time cease to be unlawful. We had the advantage of hearing the speech of the noble Marquess, Lord Lothian, who explained to us the reasons which had made the Wolfenden Committee come to the conclusion that it did.

Before the Sexual Offences Act 1967 became law several Bills (two of them, I believe, introduced by the noble Earl, Lord Arran) failed to reach the Statute Book. I know and fully appreciate the noble Earl's interest in this issue and I am conscious of the part which he played in securing the successful passage of the 1967 Act. As a result of the passage of that piece of legislation, we have accordingly had some 10 years' experience of the greater freedom which has been allowed to homosexuals. In the meantime —this again has been referred to in many speeches—there has been much campaigning by the Campaign for Homosexual Equality and similar groups to alter the law so as to achieve still more freedom. We are now asked to make a decision as to whether or not the minimum age for homosexual relations ought to be 18 rather than 21.

I accept at once that there have been several changes in the meantime which appear to be relevant to this issue of what the minimum age should be. Especially is this true now that the age of majority for voting and certain other purposes has, following the recommendations of the Latey Committee, been reduced to 18. Because of the current need to study the whole question of sexual offences, the law relating to the age of consent is now being considered by my right honourable friend the Home Secretary's Criminal Law Revision Committee and the Policy Advisory Committee on Sexual Offences, in the context of a wider review of sexual offences. The latter Committee, which is a multidisciplinary committee, was, as your Lordships are aware, appointed by my right honourable friend the former Home Secretary in December 1975. The committee has the particular function of looking into the medical, sociological and other wider issues which arise in a review of the law on sexual offences, and to provide an assessment of lay opinion. Its terms of reference are, and I think it is appropriate to quote them: To look into and advise on the age of consent in relation to sexual offences and such other issues arising during the Criminal Law Revision Committee's review of sexual offences as may be referred to them by the Home Secretary or that Committee. Its first task was to look thoroughly at both the minimum age for homosexual relations, and the heterosexual age of consent.

I understand that the Policy Advisory Committee, under the chairmanship of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Edmund-Davies, until his retirement and now of his successor, Lord Justice Waller, has made a careful study of the whole question of the minimum age for homosexual relations, and has sought and obtained views from a wide range of organisations and individuals. It is too soon yet to say what the views of the two committees are likely to be. While significant progress has certainly been made, further work remains to be done, both in the light of the results, so far as they can be known, of the legislation already passed and the relevant ages in other countries, in both Europe and the Commonwealth.

My own view is that we ought to wait until these committees have reported before we go further towards decriminalising homosexual acts. We have clearly here an issue of substantial importance where views are divided. The question is by no means a simple one. It should not, I think, be the subject of a hasty decision, taken without the support of a full report by a highly competent committee.

I do not want to attempt to influence any of your Lordships to vote otherwise than as his conscience directs, but I see great merit in waiting until we have a report on this subject from the Criminal Law Revision Committee and the Policy Advisory Committee, which I hope will not be long delayed. We can then, in the light of their advice, take a fully informed decision.

In the light of what I have just said and in the context of the very valuable debate which we have just had and the explanation I have given of the action being taken by the Government to explore the issue, I would certainly urge the noble Earl, Lord Arran, to withdraw his Bill. If he does not do so, I must make it quite clear that I shall be quite unable to support him.

5.46 p.m.

The Earl of ARRAN

My Lords, my aim is simply this: to lower the age of consent among homosexuals from 21 to 18, for it will serve the function of fully acknowledging that homosexuals are perfectly ordinary people. I am aware that the latest research in London hospitals indicates that there is a strain of venereal disease that is markedly more common in homosexuals than in heterosexuals. This is regrettable but is by no means a reason for stamping out a practice which it has been discovered will be solved medically. Senior consultants in venereal disease hospitals are in favour of lowering the age of consent because patients are more willing to come forward for treatment when they know that what they are doing is not illegal. If they hold back, this tends to spread rather than prevent infection. Syphilis, which took a heavy toll of lives before modern medicine, has now been curbed. Males of all ages are equally susceptible.

I acknowledge the point made by noble Lords about homosexual promiscuity. I am also aware that since the Sexual Offences Act came into force a great deal of research into homosexuality has given us an altered and more informed picture of homosexual social behaviour. Today we are, hopefully, more sympathetic, and we should be seeking to bring the law into line with others that deal with the age of consent. Is there any reason why a man who is old enough to marry, vote and die for his country should be disallowed from fulfilling his sexual desires? Freer legislation towards homosexuals should, in the long run, create for them the possibility of a more stable domestic life. Homosexual practice, often, no doubt, indulged in in early manhood, can exhaust itself rapidly, and thereafter heterosexual partnerships will be made. Surely correct legislation should encourage the quicker passing of what is, frankly, only an early phase. I understand that male prostitution exists, but it would be naive to suppose that the present law protects all those who are not yet 21. This issue is unrelated to age relations for homosexuals.

We come now to the question of the lowering of standards. Have not all the great philosophical minds exhausted themselves on this thorny subject? I do not feel guilty of having lowered standards, as indicated in the Amendment of the noble Earl, Lord Halsbury. Perhaps your Lordships and I are wrong, but I can see more harm in restricting the sexual development of young men, with possibly long-term bad effects, than leaving these matters to their own often underrated discretion. Your Lordships might argue that a man of 18 is more easily misled than a man of 21. However, we mature more rapidly now than ever before, and for this good reason other legislation relating to age limits has adapted itself. In truth, it is not a question of the 19-yearold who is at his most intractable and self willed. In reality, the critical stage in a man's sexual life is almost invariably before the age of 18. Few men at the age of 18 suddenly turn homosexual. The young generation are exposed to much more knowledge of these matters than we ever were. Is restrictive law suited to the spirit of our time?

5.50 p.m.

The Earl of HALSBURY

My Lords, in rising to reply to the comments that have been made on my Amendment, I should like to thank all those who have spoken against the Bill or in favour of the Amendment in a quite long and very interesting debate. I think there are only three critics to whom I have to reply. I do not believe that the noble Baroness, Lady Gaitskell, was listening attentively to what I said when she appeared to imply that I thought homosexuality was a sickness. I never said that. What I said was that homosexuals who did not adopt proper standards of behaviour and make the best of the situation in which they found themselves, by living good lives, would be overtaken by the syndrome whose symptoms were exhibitionism, promiscuity, proselytism and a vainglorious boastfulness about the merits of being homosexual. I never suggested that homosexuality itself was a sickness.

I have three points to reply to, two of them made both by the noble Lord, Lord Chorley, and the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley. One is their disposition to chase a will-o'-the-wisp; that is to say, a logical connection between the age of citizenship, the age of consent in heterosexual matters, the age of consent in homosexual matters and the age of military service. There is no logical connection between any of those matters; they are not geometrical deductions like Euclid. They are considered judgments in social situations. One might just as well ask for there to be a logical connection between these matters and the age at which you are allowed to have a licence to drive a motor bicycle.

The other point was that I found their concepts of freedom are a trifle naive—and I say that with regret. In any context there is always "freedom for" and "freedom from", and one man's "freedom for" is bound to exercise a limiting effect on another man's "freedom from". In pleading for freedom for homosexuals, what about the freedom from homosexuals that we should like our young people to enjoy for as long as possible? To some extent all these must be matters of compromise and consensus.

That leads me to the third point that I wish to make; namely, a certain misunderstanding in interpreting the actual words in which the Wolfenden recommendations were made. The phrase began: "All things considered". What were all those things? There were a number of them, but one point quite clearly in all of them, if I may put it in my own words, was the need for a kind of close season for seduction by older men in the immediate post-school leaving age period. At a time when the age of majority and of citizenship was 21, the choice of 21 as the age of consent provided that close season from seduction. It does not follow if you lower the age of majority from 21 to 18 that you abolish the need for the close season. It merely re-opens what that should be. My Amendment simply seeks to preserve the status quo.

I am deeply grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Greenwich, for replying to my question, because he killed two birds with one stone and answered the question in my mind with regard to these piles of pornography that I have been accumulating while doing my homework; that is, where am I going to put them when this debate is over. The noble Lord now tells me that I can land them on the Director of Public Prosecutions, together with a copy of Hansard.

Not one single voice has been raised against the facts that I adduced in support of my Amendment. Nobody has disputed anything I said, and therefore it remains only to invite your Lordships to follow me into the Division Lobby by an overwhelming majority when the Question is put.


My Lords, before the noble Earl sits down, may I say that many people dispute his facts. Facts can be used in a completely personal way, and I think the noble Earl has used his facts entirely personally. Also I am not deaf, not particularly stupid, nor particularly naive, so all those accusations against me do not hold water. I distinctly heard the noble Earl say that homosexuality was criminal and was every kind of thing that I do not believe in. That is all.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (The Earl of Listowel)

My Lords, the original Question was, That the Bill be now read a second time, since when an Amendment has been moved to leave out all the words after "That" and insert the words printed on the Order Paper. The Question I therefore now have to put is that this Amendment be agreed to?

Resolved in the affirmative, and Amendment agreed to accordingly.

5.55 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 146; Not-Contents, 25.

Adeane, L. Garner, L. Northesk, E.
Ailsa, M. Gordon-Walker, L. Norwich, Bp.
Alanbrooke, V. Granville of Eye, L. Nugent of Guildford, L.
Allerton, L. Gray, L. Oxford and Asquith, E.
Alport, L. Greenway, L. Paget of Northampton, L.
Amherst of Hackney, L. Haig, E. Peart, L. (L. Privy Seal.)
Amory, V. Hailsham of Saint Marylebone, L. Phillips, B.
Ampthill, L. Pitt of Hampstead, L.
Arwyn, L. Halsbury, E. [Teller.] Platt, L.
Auckland, L. Hankey, L. Popplewell, L.
Balerno, L. Hanworth, V. Porritt, L.
Balfour of Burleigh, L. Hawke, L. Rankeillour, L.
Barrington, V. Henderson, L. Rathcreedan, L.
Birmingham, Bp. Henley, L. Redcliffe-Maud, L.
Blyton, L. Home of the Hirsel, L. Robertson of Oakridge, L.
Boyd-Carpenter, L. Hornsby-Smith, B. Rochdale, V.
Brooke of Cumnor, L. Hunt, L. Romney, E.
Brooke of Ystradfellte, B. Hylton-Foster, B. Rusholme, L.
Caccia, L. Ingleby, V. Russell of Killowen, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Inglewood, L. St. Aldwyn, E.
Carlisle, Bp. Jacques, L. Sandford, L.
Carrington, L. Kagan, L. Sandys, L.
Champion, L. Keith of Kingel, L. Seafield, E.
Clifford of Chudleigh, L. Kinloss, Ly. Selkirk, E.
Clwyd, L. Lauderdale, E. [Teller.] Sharples, B.
Cobham, V. Leatherland, L. Spens, L.
Coleraine, L. Lee of Newton, L. Stamp, L.
Collison, L. Long, V. Stedman, B.
Cooper of Stockton Heath, L. Longford, E. Stewart of Alvechurch, B.
Cork and Orrery, E. Lothian, M. Stone, L.
Craigmyle, L. Loudoun, C. Stabolgi, L.
Cullen of Ashbourne, L. Lovat, L. Strathclyde, L.
Daventry, V. Lytton, E. Strathcona and Mount Royal, L.
de Clifford, L. McCluskey, L. Strathspey, L.
De Freyne, L. Macleod of Borve, B. Swinton, E.
Denham, L. MacLeod of Fuinary, L. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Devonshire, D. Maelor, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.
Donegall, M. Mansfield, E. Terrington, L.
Drumalbyn, L. Masham of Ilton, B. Teviot, L.
Dundee, E. Maybray-King, L. Tranmire, L.
Elles, B. Melville, V. Trefgarne, L.
Elliot of Harwood, B. Merrivale, L. Vivian, L.
Emmet of Amberley, B. Monck, V. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Falkland, V. Monckton of Brenchley, V. Wells-Pestell, L.
Ferrers, E. Morris, L. Westbury, L.
Forester, L. Morris of Borth-y-Gest, L. Wilson of Langside, L.
Fraser of Kilmorack, L. Mottistone, L. Wilson of Radcliffe, L.
Furness, V. Newall, L. Wynne-Jones, L.
Gainford, L. Northchurch, B. Younger of Leckie. V.
Aberdeen and Temair, M. Delacourt-Smith of Alteryn, B. Monson, L.
Amherst, E. Feversham, L. Pannell, L.
Arran, E. [Teller.] Gaitskell, B. Seear, B.
Banks, L. Gardiner, L. Shackleton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. [Teller.] Hale, L. Vaizey, L.
Hertford, M. Vernon. L.
Brockway, L. Houghton of Sowerby, L. Wade, L.
Chorley, L. Kilmarnock, L. Willis, L.
Craigavon, V. Listowel, E.