HL Deb 10 May 1977 vol 383 cc164-95

2.56 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time. I can be quite brief. My sole purpose is to bring the law of Scotland and the law of England into alignment, because I think that in this case it is highly undesirable that they should differ. I want to say only two things to your Lordships: first, to repeat that such is my sole purpose; and, secondly, that I have put into the Bill the age of 18 instead of 21 as the age of consent. I have done that because I think it is more sensible. Also, I think that 21 would be found in practice to be unenforceable. I also put in the age of 18 because my noble friend Lord Arran not long ago introduced a Bill to reduce the age to 18 and I thought that your Lordships might have passed it. Unfortunately, the noble Lord, Lord Arran, became ill and has been unable to move the Second Reading of his Bill. That will come up next month. As my object is not to change the law in any way, I therefore propose myself to move Amendments at the Committee stage of the Bill to retain the age of consent at 21—in which case, as I think is right, your Lordships will have the opportunity to take a separate decision on the age of consent on a separate Bill. As I said earlier, my object is simply to bring the two laws of the two countries into alignment.

My second main reason is this. The Lord Advocate recently made a public statement in which he said that he did not propose to prosecute under the Statutes and the law of Scotland indecent actions between consenting adults. I think that is unprecedented. The Lord Advocate cannot bind his successor. What he has said is that the Crown Office of Scotland, under his direction, does not propose to enforce the law of Scotland as it now stands. This can only bring the law itself into disrepute. It is unprecedented and undesirable, and the only action that we can take is to change the law so that it can be enforced by the Crown Office. T think this is very dangerous and highly objectionable and it should be corrected at the earliest possible moment.

My final point concerns the Amendment to the Motion moved by my noble friend Lord Ferrier—if I may still call him that. He calls in aid of his Amendment a nonexistent and at present purely hypothetical Scottish National Assembly. I think that proves that he feels himself to be on pretty shaky ground. He refers to proposals which are now before Parliament with regard to a Scottish National Assembly and its powers. I know of no such powers: they do not exist. In fact, the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, sits on the Conservative Benches and therefore must, I think, envisage the possibility that the Conservatives will win the next General Election. If that should be the case, there has been a statement in the Press, not contradicted, that on Saturday next the Leader of the Opposition and of his own Party, Mrs. Thatcher, is going to announce that a Scottish National Assembly is not going to be part of the programme of the Conservative Party at the next Election. I would add to that that there are many people—perhaps more than the noble Lord may realise—who have had a long experience of public life in Scotland and who are strongly opposed to a National Assembly in Edinburgh. It is quite possible that it will be years before a National Assembly comes into existence if, indeed, it ever does.

This is a matter that cannot wait for years. It is urgent. For my part, I will gladly and gratefully accept any drafting Amendments that the Government may see fit to propose in the Committee stage, and, as I have told your Lordships, myself propose to move an Amendment, which I hope will be passed, to retain the age of consent at 21, because I am not out to change the law at the present time and in the present Bill. Also, I will resist any Amendments that may be moved with the object of changing the law. That is not my purpose, or the purpose of this Bill. The sole purpose of this Bill is to bring the law of Scotland and the law of England into alignment, and then to enforce and uphold it. My Lords, I beg to move.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 2a. —(Lord Boothhy.)

3.1 p.m.


My Lords, I rise at this stage to Rive your Lordships some indication of the Government's attitude to the proposals in this Bill. On subjects such as these, it is generally accepted that the Government should not seek to influence the views of Parliament, but rather remain neutral, so as to allow the question to be decided according to the consciences of individual Peers and Members. This is our intention in respect of the present Bill.

When the Sexual Offences Act 1967, which broadly gave effect to the recommendations of the Wolfenden Committee in legalising homosexual activity between consenting adults in private in England and Wales, was being debated in Parliament, there was little pressure for it to extend to Scotland. Partly, this was in recognition of the fact that, because of the Scottish public prosecution system and higher standard of evidence required by the rules relating to corroboration under Scottish criminal law, prosecutions for homosexual acts between consenting adults are virtually unknown. There were, therefore, fewer practical reasons for pressure to amend the law of Scotland in this respect. Other soundings at that time suggested that opposition to removing homosexual behaviour between consenting adults from the criminal law might be substantially stronger in Scotland than in England and Wales.

Since then, there has bees growing pressure, especially from the Scottish Minorities Group, to reform the law of Scotland on this point. As many of your Lordships will be aware, there was, in particular, some criticism during the passage of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 1976 through your Lordships' House last year, because that Act reproduced, as Section 7, the provision of the Criminal Law Amendment Act 1885, which made gross indecency between males a criminal offence in Scotland. As I explained at that time, the 1976 Act was a pure consolidation measure, which did not permit of amending or excluding any of the sections of the Acts which were being consolidated. I stressed then that the decision to include Section 7 in the new Act was a technical one related to the consolidation procedure, and did not indicate Government commitment to retaining the offence on its merits.

In a Written Reply on 18th October 1976, the present Lord Advocate, who, as your Lordships will be aware, has responsibility for the public prosecution of crime in Scotland, indicated that he had not changed the policy adopted by previous Lord Advocates not to prosecute cases of homosexual activities between consenting adults in private. The Lord Advocate gave as the criteria for not prosecuting homosexual activities that both parties must be over 21, each must clearly and freely have consented, and the place must be private in the sense that the public have no right of access to it and that what is done there cannot be observed by the public. There have been no prosecutions in Scotland for many years for the type of homosexual activity which became legal in England and Wales with the passing of the 1967 Act, and certainly none since 1967 which would not have taken place in England and Wales.

During the passage of the 1976 Act, the Lord Advocate and I both stressed that the appropriate way to seek a change in the law of Scotland in this matter was by the introduction of a Bill by a Private Peer or Private Member. Whatever our individual attitudes to the Bill itself, in principle or in detail, we should thank the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, for giving us this early opportunity of discussing what is for many people an important issue, and one not free from controversy, as the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, will presumably indicate when he rises to speak.

No doubt the question will be raised as to whether it is appropriate to allow a change to he made now as regards a matter which is to be given to the Scottish Assembly, were such an Assembly to be created; and the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, has spoken on that point. It is certainly the case that the subject matter would be within the competence of the Scottish Assembly, and in due course it would be for the Scottish Administration to formulate its policies on legislative proposals in devolved fields. However, I can see no reason why a change of this kind should not be made now, if Parliament wish to do so, particularly when the change is, in the main, more one of recognising existing practice than of anything else.

Although the Government may be neutral on the general principles of the Bill, they must share concern about both its potential effects and its workability. The one point of substance I would wish to raise is to express a considerable degree of doubt about the proposal that the minimum age should be 16, instead of 21 as in England and Wales. I am sure that it is desirable that the age should be the same in both countries; and I am aware that the noble Earl, Lord Arran, has a Bill reducing the English age to 18. But my doubts relate not only to the case for uniformity, but to the proposal to have a lower age. For this reason, my anxieties are relieved by the announcement of the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, that he will move an Amendment at Committee stage to make the age of consent 21 in his Bill.

Apart from this point of substance, there are a number of matters of detail and drafting where the Bill could be improved and have defects removed. Perhaps the most gross example—if I might use that term—is that the Bill at various points refers to "buggery", whereas the corresponding Scottish offence is "sodomy". There are a number of other points, mainly directed to assimilating the Bill better to the code it amends, the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 1976. But these, I must stress, are matters of detail which can be taken up later. As to the Bill as a whole, the Government are content, as I have indicated, that a decision should be left to individual Members of your Lordships' House.


My Lords, before the Minister sits down, may I ask him this? It was probably a slip of the tongue, but we seem to have 16, 18 and 21 years of age. We all know that the age of consent is one thing, the age of criminal responsibility is something else, and there is a kind of grey area in the middle. But which one are we talking about today?


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, in his Bill as it stands before your Lordships' House, has the age of 18. He has indicated that he will move an Amendment to raise this to 21, and the age of 21 is the present position under English law.


My Lords, I think it was a slip of the tongue. At one moment, the noble Lord said "16" when he meant "18", but I did not interrupt him.


My Lords, I can only apologise to your Lordships. I did not intend to say the age of 16.

3.9 p.m.

Lord FERRIER rose to move as an Amendment to the Motion for Second Reading "to leave out all the words after 'that' and insert 'in view of the present proposals for a Scottish Assembly now before Parliament, and of the subject matter of this Scottish Bill, this House considers its introduction inappropriate and untimely and declines to give the Bill a Second Reading.'." The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move the Amendment that stands in my name on the Order Paper. Although what the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhill, has said may enable me to curtail my speech, which, in any case, will not be long, I cannot say that I am grateful to him, because if I have my way—and I hope that your Lordships will support me—this Bill will never reach its Committee stage. These details can be left to another body, perhaps the Assembly. As I said when the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, spoke, I am one of those who hope that there will not be an Assembly. However, when that matter is settled, presumably the details will be dealt with there.

I move this Amendment with some reluctance. It seems to me to be a pity that this controversial matter should be raised now. I have studied the exchanges which took place in your Lordships' House in October. Admittedly it has been left to a Private Member to introduce the Bill, but I feel compelled to resist its terms, as I felt compelled to resist the 1966 Bill. I regard it as another step down the slope leading to a decadent society. In addition, I hesitate to take up your Lordships' time on a matter which has been discussed so often before, particularly in the case of the 1966 Bill and subsequently the Wolfenden Committee. However, the situation that arises out of the present Bill is new, in that it refers to Scotland alone. I shall return later to this matter in order to answer the points made by my noble friend Lord Boothby.

As I have told your Lordships, I took the trouble to study the exchanges in October when the Government made it clear that they had no intention of promoting a Bill. We heard about that from the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhill, who put the matter in a nutshell in October in the answers he gave to quest ions asked of him on the 8th of that month. As for the subject matter of the Bill, it is necessary for me to set out the objections, as I see them, to the proposals, which I shall do as briefly as I can. They are contained at some length in the speech that I made on 10th May 1966, to which I shall not refer again except to say that in the course of it I declared my support for the views contained in the late Mr. James Adair's well-known Reservation No. 1 to the conclusions of the Wolfenden Committee. It was written as the expression of opinion of an experienced Scottish procurator fiscal. I think that he was procurator fiscal in Glasgow for many years. On the occasion of thy: 1966 Bill I voted, as did 28 other noble Lords, against its Second Reading. I can hardly do other than take the same stand today.

As has been said before, there are as many variations of homosexuality as there are colours in the rainbow. They range from the mentally ill through the compulsive lecher to the decadent pervert. It seems to me to follow that the attitude of the individual towards the matter varies from the utmost compassion through passive indifference to the bitterest contempt. Realising the difficulties which confront the homosexual, whom I regard as an unfortunate, it is very tempting to brush the whole problem under the carpet, but it seems to some of us that this will not do. Other people are concerned: namely, the vast majority of ordinary, normal folk. As Mr. Adair said in his paragraph 2, from which I shall read only one sentence: The presence in a district of, for example, adult male lovers living openly and notoriously under the approval of the law is bound to have a regrettable and pernicious effect on the young people of the community". In my view, the same applies to the opposite sex. Incidentally, to many people the word "lovers" in this context may well seem incongruous.

What must be appreciated is that the flagrant existence of this kind of behaviour in almost any community can be a profound shock to decent people. My compassion goes out to this majority, whose voice is so seldom heard in an increasingly permissive society. What with X-films, pornography, lewd and even blasphemous gramophone records, where are we going? In saying this, I emphasise that I also regard the mentally unbalanced with sincere compassion. The fact is that the supporters of the Bill seek a relaxation of moral standards. This I believe to be a situation which should be resisted.

In addition to Clause 1 of the Bill, the kernel of the problem is to be found in Clause 3, which would remove Section 7 of the 1976 Act and substitute another, from which flow the subsequent clauses. I make no reference to the incongruity of Clause 2 which refers to merchant seamen and the like, nor to the situation whereby no prosecution has been launched by the Lord Advocate for so long. I wrote in my speech that they are not part of my case. Since, however, the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhill, has spoken before me, although I understood that I was to follow the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, may I refer again to the very odd attitude of the Lord Advocate. i agree with the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, that the situation is almost not capable of being understood; but there it is, and there it can stay so far as I am concerned.

Apart from the fact that homosexual acts have been rejected as heinous sin by every known ethic since time began, there are two specific points about the Bill that I should like to emphasise to your Lordships. First, the Bill is a charter for the male prostitute. Secondly, it puts power into the hands of a pervert who is in a position to influence promotion and the like—power that can be used to pervert a subordinate or an employee. This corresponds with "the casting office couch", so deplored in another context. The problem of blackmail has not been mentioned. However, I hope it will be referred to when the matter is broached by following speakers. Something which the noble Lord, Lord Kirkhill, said makes me feel I am right in thinking that the law in Scotland in respect of evidence and the like has some bearing upon the problem of blackmail.


My Lords, may I interrupt the noble Lord for just one moment. A senior police official, whose name, for obvious reasons, I cannot give, said to me about six months ago, "No one will ever realise the amount of blackmail that has been stopped as a result of the implementation of the recommendations of the Wolfenden Committee". It was a profession. It is no longer a profession.


My Lords, that is why I said that I thought there was something, despite the nonsensical situation, to be said for the stand taken by the Lord Advocate. However, this reference to the English position brings me to the Scottish situation. It has been contended that it is necessary—the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, makes a strong point of this—for the law in Scotland to be brought into line with that of England. Why, my Lords? This Bill is in an entirely different category from one such as the Divorce (Scotland) Bill which my noble friend Lord Selkirk recently steered through the House. This is not a necessary measure; it is entirely a social measure. Also it is a measure reserved entirely for Scotland. It is an attack on moral standards in Scotland, where I can assure noble Lords it will meet with stout resistence. May I say that my noble friend the very reverend Lord MacLeod of Fuinary has authorised me to say that he would have been supporting my Amendment had he been able to he here, but he is in Iona because of his duties connected with the Iona community.

In Scotland we have our law. In some respects, we have our own language. In addition to the Gaelic, to which I do not refer, I am thinking of words like, "outwith", "anent" and "remit", and whether one says "if" or "whether or no" and so on. We have our own individuality which we are perfectly able to maintain, as we have done for centuries, within the framework of the United Kingdom, under the British Crown, thanks be to God. It has been said that the phrasing of my Amendment is a suggestion of support for the Scottish National Party. It is nothing of the kind. It is quite the reverse. But the fact is, and we must accept it, that all political Parties include the establishment of a Scottish Assembly as part of their policy. Whether that will be so on Saturday I am not prepared to say. but we are speaking of today.


It will not be, my Lords.


My Lords, that I for one see no need for such an Assembly is neither here nor there; it is the fact that matters. But as matters stand today—and today is today—if the Assembly is constituted then that will be the proper place for a Bill of this nature as it is essentially social and entirely Scottish; not here in Westminster at this time. That, therefore, as distinct from its demerits, is another reason why I hope your Lordships will reject this Bill, leaving it to the Promoters to bring it forward when the new devolution question is settled one way or the other.

One Member of your Lordships' House has told me that I appear to have no consideration for the poor deranged people who may find themselves in prison under the terms of Section 7, and to whom the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, made some reference. That is not so, my Lords. I have consideration for them. Prison is the wrong place for their possible redemption. Here the Lord Advocate may have been wise in what he is doing, but the remedy is to devise a new approach to the whole question of penalties and to amend Section 7 accordingly. But any law such as this is bound to hurt somebody: is it to be the weak or the strong who suffer? Kleptomaniacs, arsonists, compulsive homosexuals are all sick people; how can they claim that they have rights? When they do, are they not whistling in the dark? Is it fair to risk injuring normal people, as this Bill does, in order that the abnormal may be shielded? In 1945 the Old Bailey had five courts; today I believe it has 29. Crime, whether it be violence, stealing, cheating, fiddling or drug-peddling is fast becoming the norm. Why should it? Because, my Lords, too many people do not seem to have the will or the power to stand up and say "enough".

I feel I have carried out the unpleasant task which my conscience prompted me to undertake when I tabled the Amendment on this revolting subject. I appreciate that the Promoters and supporters of this Bill are actuated by views sincerely held, and all I ask is that those who oppose it should in return be similarly credited. I ask your Lordships to support me in the "Content" Lobby when we come to a Division on the matter. I beg to move.

Moved, as an Amendment to the Motion for Second Reading "to leave out all the words after 'that' and insert 'in view of the present proposals for a Scottish Assembly now before Parliament, and of the subject matter of this Scottish Bill, this House considers its introduction inappropriate and untimely and declines to give the Bill a Second Reading.'."—(Lord Ferrier.)

3.25 p.m.


My Lords, I for one, and I am sure a great many of your Lordships, are very grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, for bringing this extremely sensible and overdue measure before your Lordships' House. There is now an overwhelming agreement that the 1967 Sexual Offences Act was a good measure and that people would not like to see it repealed. There are of course a number of people who do not yet feel that way, but I think the objection in principle to what we did then for England and what is proposed now for Scotland is still among such a small minority that I need not weary your Lordships' House by going over the grounds in principle once more. Therefore the only reference I would make to that part of the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, is to ask him whether he really consigns 5 per cent.—as it probably is—of the human race to the mentally ill, the compulsive lechers and the degenerate perverts.

We have been playing parlour games on this Bench, my Lords, trying to think of the distinguished and good people in history who were homosexuals, starting with Socrates and ending—because we decided not to include people alive—with that distinguished Member of your Lordships' House, whose recent death was such a tragic loss, the late Lord Britten. Certainly among the homosexuals that I know are some of the gentlest, the best, the most creative and the most pastoral-minded humans I know and we cannot just write them off in this sweeping and rather aggressive way.

It is not sufficient to leave the Law as it is because, as the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, rightly said, to have a criminal law on the Statute Book which is acknowledged not to be administered is to bring the law into disrepute. It is difficult enough these days to keep alive in people a strong sense of the necessity of obeying the law of the land even when at times it does not particularly suit them, without having this tremendously anomalous situation of something which the police will do nothing about but which apparently is still illegal and therefore to some extent is certainly still open to blackmail.

It has been suggested that we should put this Bill off until the Scottish Assembly can consider it. I think the speech made by the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, shows that this is something of a ploy; that what he really wants is merely the throwing out of this Bill, and indeed, if he could have it, the reversal of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act. As the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, pointed out, we have not yet got an Assembly. The Government may pass legislation for an Assembly, with a little help from their friends, but if the friendship is not reciprocated then in the fairly near future, depending on what the Government decide to do about Europe, there might be a General Election; and, as the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, has pointed out, who can then say what would be the fate of a Scottish Assembly?

I should like to take that argument one step further. I am a very strong devolutionist indeed—more so certainly than most in your Lordships' House and probably as strong a devolutionist as any, but I think the last thing one should devolve are matters dealing with civic rights. Those are the things which should be made as universal as possible. The guardianship of the rights of minorities must be taken as far away from local passions and prejudices as it is possible to do. That is why we strive to have a United Nations recognised authority on human rights; that is why we have a European authority and subscribe to it ourselves and undergo judgment under it, which is the right thing to do. Civil rights are the last thing that should be devolved: everything else should be devolved first, and even then I feel they should not go down any further than is absolutely necessary. Therefore, even if there were a Scottish Assembly now, which there is not, I would say that we ought to pass this Bill today.

There is a strong feeling that in matters of personal liberty and civil rights the law should be the same throughout the United Kingdom. I am told that when the question of the Divorce Reform Bill came up in another place two or three years ago and was blocked there was in Scotland a wave of feeling of enormous strength that the law should be the same for the whole of the United Kingdom. The passing of the Divorce Reform (Scotland) Act was a direct result of that feeling which swept over Scotland.

When the Bill comes to the Committee stage, as I hope your Lordships will let it, there are in fact one or two Amendments that I should like to move, even to make the law different from the law in England. The Amendments will not be tremendously controversial. The present law has not always worked exactly as Parliament would have wanted it to work. Whereas I entirely agree that the law should be brought into line with that in England and Wales, I do not see any reason for it to be the same in every detail. As the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, has pointed out, the Scottish legal system has its own ways, its own laws. I do not see any reason why we should not amend and improve this Bill in some respects, but that can wait until the Committee stage.

I am delighted that from the point of view of taking this Bill forward the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, is going to move an Amendment to the age of consent. I think the age of consent should be changed in all the countries of the United Kingdom, but I agree that this is probably not the right place to do it. My Lords, as I said, this is a sensible and an overdue Bill. Do not let us be distracted by talk of non-existent Scottish Assemblies. Let us overwhelmingly give the Bill a Second Reading today.

3.32 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, has explained very clearly the intention of his Bill, and I respect and understand what he is trying to do in it. He is attempting to rationalise the law and bring the law in Scotland into line with what it has been in England and Wales for 10 years. The criminal law, as it is, is different since the Bill of the honourable Member Mr. Abse was presented and passed through the House of Commons. I was a Member of that House at that time and I remember the debates that took place. The Bill referred only, and applied only, to England and Wales, and not to Scotland.

My Lords, in practice there has in the last 10 years been little, if any, difference in the effects of the different states of law North and South of the Border, because no prosecutions have been brought in Scotland in the circumstances covered by the Abse Bill—that is to say, consenting adults in private. In Scotland the responsibility for bringing prosecutions lies with the Lord Advocate. He is a Law Officer and a member of the Government of the day. I understand that the situation is different in England and Wales, where a duty lies upon the Director of Public Prosecutions to bring prosecutions. So there has been a difference because of the fact that the Lord Advocate could control what happened in Scotland.

As I see it, the principal issue to be decided today is whether anything need or should be done to obtain uniformity in the Statutes North and South of the Border, or whether it would be better to leave things as they are for the present on the basis that in practice no one is being treated unfairly in Scotland. It can be said in favour of the Bill that a Lord Advocate in the future might change the policy and initiate proceedings; and that is what the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, in introducing the Bill, suggested was a possibility. It can also be argued that it is unwise to have laws that are deliberately ignored; that this tends to bring the whole system of law into disrepute. I certainly sympathise with that argument where Scotland is concerned.

My Lords, against the Bill it can be pointed out that for a period of 10 years there have in practice been no differences in what has happened North and South of the Border, and there has been no unfairness to homosexuals North of the Border. As I was Secretary of State for Scotland for nearly four years during that period, from 1970 to 1974, I was well aware that there was this difference in the law, but nothing occurred during that period which suggested that it was necessary to make a change in order to avoid unfairness. It can also be said against the Bill that raising this subject opens up possibilities of going further and introducing into this Bill Amendments and additions which would go further than the law at present existing in England and Wales, that attempts may be made to make additions. Certainly some of us have already received letters front various bodies representing what are called civil rights suggesting that this Bill might have things added to it which would take it considerably further than the law now existing in England and Wales.

I am very glad that the no ale Lord, Lord Boothby, told us today that if the Bill goes to Committee stage he would move to amend the age of 18 to 21—which is the one significant difference in his Bill from the existing law in England and Wales. I was aware that the noble Earl, Lord Arran, has a Bill before this House which seeks to reduce the age for the whole country, on the basis that this Bill has gone through, from 21 to 18. But for the moment I am sure i he noble Lord, Lord Boothby, must try simply in his Bill to make the law in Scotland the same as it now is in England. So I was delighted to hear him say that today.

My noble friend Lord Ferrier is opposed to the Bill and does net wish it to have a Second Reading for reasons that he has just given. I will say straight away that this is one of those subjects upon which traditionally Governments and official Oppositions do not formulate Party policies; it is left to individuals to reach their own conclusions upon the issues which arise. Therefore, any views which I express from this Bench will be personal.

Two principal questions have to be answered. First, does it matter whether the law on this subject is different North and South of the Border? If the reply to that is, No, because in practice there will be no prosecutions, we come to the second question. Does it matter that the present law in Scotland stands but no notice is being taken of it? Is this harmful to the public attitude towards the system of law in general? I would welcome views of lawyers on this question. On the first question, I think we must distinguish what we are considering today from recent Scottish Bills which have been before your Lordships' House, en which I and others have argued that it IA as to the advantage of Scotland and England and Wales that differences in law should be ironed out, because as these differences exist at present they could cause confusion and distress; and, of course, I am referring to the Divorce (Scotland) Bill and the Marriage (Scotland) Bill.

On the first one I supported my noble friend Lord Selkirk, because the difference in the law North and South of the Border could cause distress, and had been causing distress. I knew of many cases where distress had been caused. But, in that case, it was not criminal law but was a matter which depended on the domicile of those concerned. Situations also arose where spouses were Scottish, English or Welsh.

In the marriage Bill, which left us for another place, we thought it important, in order to avoid confusion, to bring various aspects of marriage law together and promote uniformity between Scotland, and England and Wales. For example, on the question of the forbidden degrees of relationship for marriage, clearly it would be highly confusing if, as it seemed at one time in Scotland, it was to be forbidden to marry a deceased wife's sister, whereas it was possible to do so in England and Wales. Therefore, some of us have argued recently in your Lordships' House in favour of uniformity in matters where confusion could arise and where, in relation to divorce, there could be distress.

I am delighted that the Bill which my noble friend Lord Selkirk promoted is now an Act. However, I suggest that those considerations do not apply in the present case. Here we are dealing with criminal law and it relates to a homosexual act that takes place either in Scotland or South of the Border. It does not have the continuing life-long effects of divorce or marriage or all the complications that I have described. I do not see an urgent need for the Bill, though I am well aware of the anomalous situation on paper and how that has arisen historically. In fact, no one is being discriminated against or being unfairly treated in Scotland, and it is very unlikely that in the future a Lord Advocate will change the present policy. However, the noble Lord, Lord Wilson of Langside, is due to speak and I shall listen to what he says because he was a law officer in a previous Labour Government and also served on the legal side in the Scottish Office when I was Secretary of State for Scotland.

The Amendment which my noble friend Lord Ferrier has moved refers to a Scottish Assembly. I certainly do not want to go into the question of devolution now—we have discussed it at some length in the past. However, in passing I must comment that when the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, referred to some guesses published in the Press as to what my right honourable friend Mrs. Thatcher may say on Saturday at a conference in Perth, that is speculation and I would hope that your Lordships' House would treat it as speculation until a statement has been made either by her or a spokesman on her behalf. It is certainly dangerous to make assumptions.

My noble friend Lord Ferrier has made it clear that he is not very enamoured of the idea of an Assembly and I think it can be said that none of us in your Lordships' House knows whether or when an Assembly may be set up and what power or functions it may have in Scotland. I agree that if such an Assembly existed it would probably be the place where the powers and functions in this area would lie, but it is not possible to depend on an Assembly, which would consider this matter, necessarily being in existence in the next two or three years.

The Government Bill on devolution proved to be unsatisfactory, so no detailed proposals are before Parliament at present. However, the extensive administrative devolution—which has already occurred in Scotland over the past 40 years and which means that the Secretary of State and the Scottish Office Ministers are virtually responsible for every domestic subject in Scotland except industry and finance—means that the Scottish Executive, together with its law officers, can ensure that the present situation continues without unfairness or discrimination against persons in Scotland as distinct from persons South of the Border.

I was surprised that the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, should have thought that this was an urgent matter. I can certainly appreciate that it is untidy and that one would not wish to have the differences that exist in law between Scotland and England. However, if I understand his presentation of his case, I do not think that he knows of any instances in which any persons in Scotland in the last 10 years have suffered in any way as a result of the way in which the law in practice is carried out.


My Lords, that is my whole point and it is that about which I am complaining. The law is not being enforced. It should be enforced.


My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord, because I want to establish the position clearly. No one has, in fact, suffered as a result of the differences in the last 10 years. I was really making the second point as to whether law is brought into disrepute if it is on the Statute book and not being observed.


My Lords, is the noble Lord, Lord Campbell of Croy, asserting as a fact that in the last ten years there have been no instances of attempted blackmail in Scotland because of the existing law there?


My Lords, I certainly am unable to make any such statement, and I have given the noble Lord, Lord Wigoder, the opportunity to point out that this is an aspect of the situation which could arise. I and others who have been concerned with this subject do not know of any instances where people have suffered either because of a prosecution or because of the threat of a prosecution, because it has been understood in Scotland that the law would be observed in the way in which it had been changed in England and Wales. So anyone who attempted blackmail was not really onto a good thing from his point of view.

I suggest that it is a matter for individual Peers to decide whether they allow the Bill to have a Second Reading or take the view advanced by my noble friend Lord Ferrier. I was Secretary of State for Scotland for a period of nearly four years during which the present situation obtained. Therefore, I believe that it would be appropriate for me to abstain, but I hope that I have been able to put before noble Lords the main issues arising from the Bill.

3.47 p.m.


My Lords, your Lordships' House is surely in debt to the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, for his initiative in presenting this measure to your Lordships today. This is surely a necessary Bill. Standing the law in England and Wales as it presently does and standing the remarkable, one might almost say quaint, statement made by the Lord Advocate when presenting the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 1976 to Parliament, it is surely beyond dispute that this is a necessary measure. There is, perhaps, room for discussion whether that necessity should be a matter for laughter or for tears. However, it is certainly a regrettable necessity, for more reasons than one. That necessity and the circumstances giving rise to it—and I wish to touch on this because it is important to the law in Scotland—surely illustrate yet again, in a small but not insignificant way, how little wisdom at present is applied in regulating affairs in this particular corner of the Scottish field, the field of criminal law.

What are these circumstances? They have, of course, already been touched on today by almost every noble Lord who has spoken. I make no apology for touching upon them again, and I must confess that I feel a little less tolerant about them than do apparently most of your Lordships who have spoken up to the moment. The Government decided to consolidate certain enactments relating to sexual offences in Scotland. This was not a matter of any urgency. This was not a matter of major importance. In the result, we got Section 7 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 1976, which re-enacted the earlier Scottish provisions making it a criminal offence attracting a sentence of up to two years' imprisonment for any male person to engage in homosexual acts, whether in public or in private. This was of course in sharp conflict with the state of the law in England and Wales, and had the Government said, as the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, at one point suggested might be a proper approach, that on the advice of Scottish Ministers they accepted that the law in the two countries should be different, that might have been a tenable position. We might not have agreed with it—I certainly would not—but it would have been an arguable stance. The Government did not adopt it.

The noble Lord, Lord Kirkhill, will no doubt correct me if I am wrong about this. At the close of his opening speech I endeavoured to seek clarification on this point from him but was unsuccessful. An alternative, as I understand it, would have been by minor amendment to exclude from the ambit of Section 7 homosexual acts committed in private. The crucial provision of Section 7 is to the effect that: Any male person who, in public or private, commits … any act of gross indecency with another male person shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years …". The deletion of the words "in private" in relation to the commission of the offence would surely, would it not, have been a more sensible course? Of course I may be wrong; it would not have covered every contingency and the situation may be much more complicated than that.

Would that not have been more in accord with common sense than the course which the Government adopted? That was—and this is what I must confess I feel a little intolerant about—to ask Parliament solemnly to re-enact the law as it stood, at the same time acknowledging that it was bad law. That is what the Lord Advocate did before Parliament, and on his behalf it was stated in this House. It was bad law, so he was not going to enforce it.

I regard that as a farcical reversal of common sense. I suppose it is too much to expect that the Minister who replies on behalf of the Government will acknowledge that in accepting, as I hoped he would, the principle behind Lord Boothby's Bill. I should dearly have liked to know what the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor thought of the way in which this matter was handled when it was before Parliament in 1976. I am afraid that that privilege will be denied us. I am sure that his gentlemanly and, in normal circumstances, altogether desirable reluctance to stand on Scottish toes would inhibit him from expressing himself freely, but I find it difficult to believe that the situation which has given rise to the need for this Bill could be regarded as acceptable to any lawyer with a pride in the law of his country.

As for Lord Ferrier's Amendment, I would say only that had there been any real prospect of the measure before Parliament passing into law at an early date, there might have been much to be said for the course which the noble Lord proposes. Since, happily, for the people of Scotland and the United Kingdom this is a remote possibility, I suggest that we should get on with our business of rationalising the law in Scotland as elsewhere. In conclusion—


My Lords, before the noble and learned Lord reaches his conclusion, may I put a question to him that I hope will not embarrass him, because he is, after all, the only person in this House who can answer it. As at the present time it must follow that homosexual acts between consenting adults are offences, are all such acts that are brought to the attention of the police reported to the Lord Advocate? Presumably there must be some record somewhere of those acts. Can the noble and learned Lord tell me whether there is such a record and, if so, what use is made of it?


My Lords, I am not aware of any such record, or of any use which could be made of it. In conclusion, I would say only this: two things restrain me, so far as Lord Ferrier's Amendment is concerned, from saying that all the indicators suggest that the Scotland and Wales Bill is sunk without trace, to the enormous benefit of Scotland. First, it would surely be out of order, since I think the measure is still in another place. It is certainly somewhere; it is not here. Secondly, I have in mind that there is nothing more calculated to rally the faithful behind the more dotty measures of a Labour Administration than the publicly expressed hostility to these Acts by unknown, elderly Peers, especially if they may be dubbed, however unfairly, "renegades". My Lords, I would commend this Bill to your Lordships' House.

3.58 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, maintained, if I heard him correctly, that homosexual activity offends all decent people. Had he been referring to public homosexual activity I would have totally agreed with him. However, we are not talking about public activity, but about what takes place in private. Private activity cannot, by definition, offend third parties unless those third parties deliberately intrude upon the privacy of others. This is not really a Bill about homosexuality, the prevalence of which can scarcely be affected one way or another by legislation. This Bill is first and foremost about individual freedom; specifically the freedom of the individual to conduct himself as he chooses in the privacy and within the four walls of his own home, always provided that children are not involved in any illicit behaviour, and that no injuries are caused to third parties thereby.

We are rightly contemptuous in this country of the way in which South African policemen are said to skulk round people's bedrooms in order to try and discover what individuals of different races are doing together. But so long as in any part of the United Kingdom there exists a state of affairs in which our policemen rummage around bedrooms to discover what individuals of the same sex are doing together, we cannot in all honesty, in all conscience, condemn what happens in other countries. I submit that to require policemen to peer through keyholes—to compel them to act as Peeping Toms, as it were—is highly degrading to the policemen concerned and indeed to society at large. It is high time we put a stop to it.

The noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, contends that no action should be taken pending the establishment of a Scottish Assembly. But as the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, and others have pointed out, there is no guarantee whenever that a Scottish Assembly will be set up, either in the short term or indeed in the longer term. If and when such an Assembly comes into being there is equally no guarantee that it will be granted the powers to legislate on matters of this sort, although I suppose that, provided Scottish representation were reduced to Ulster proportions, in all probability it would be granted such powers. But in that event there would be absolutely nothing to prevent such an Assembly from legislating to make this sort of behaviaour a criminal offence once again, though I doubt very much whether that would happen in practice.

At the present time there is only one body in the United Kingdom competent to legislate on such matters, and that is Parliament at Westminster, in both Houses of which Scottish interests are more than adequately represented. That being so, if there exists a strong body of opinion opposed to such a Bill—if the consensus of Scottish opinion is antagonistic towards it—I dare say they will be able to block it in another place; we shall have to wait and see. In the meantime, your Lordships have, when it comes to the big issues, nearly always come out strongly on the side of individual freedom, and for that reason I hope the House will give the Bill a Second Reading today.


My Lords, I hope the House will excuse my intervening in the debate—

Several noble Lords: Order!

4.3 p.m.


My Lords, I was not sure whether the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, was rising to make a brief intervention or a speech. As I gather he intends to make a speech and as my name appears on the list of speakers for this debate, perhaps he will allow me to say what I was going to say before he speaks. I must oppose the Amendment and vote in favour of what the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, has put before us. I see the Amendment as a kind of shelving of responsibility and, to some extent, a refusal to acknowledge the facts as they are today. If I oppose the Amendment, then I support the Bill; but let me say straight away that to me the whole concept of a male-to-male relationship is loathsome; my whole inclination all my life has been so strongly heterosexual that it has led me into difficulties from time to time.


Never mind.


My Lords, as a musician manqué, as I can perhaps claim to be, I must acknowledge the debt of in music and other arts to the largely homosexual Church of the 15th and 16th centuries, with its various practices including the castrati and so on. The noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, was, I thought, tying at one point to give us the idea that a gradual deterioration of moral standards had happened in the last few years, whereas in fact one need only go back to the ancient Greeks, let alone the medieval Church, to discover that there is nothing very new about it.

Most of us could today name musicians and artists who are clearly homosexual in their inclinations. Moreover, we in this enlightened age do not think they should be treated like Oscar Wilde and relegated to Reading Gaol. We must realise that there are such people, some of them creative in art, music and literature. My psychiatrist friends who have worked in universities tell me that if one wants to find homosexuals one should look, first, in the faculty of theology and, secondly, in the faculty of music. I make no further comment on that.

Noble Lords will see that what I am really trying to say is in the nature of a disclaimer. For me, justice demands that I vote in favour of the Bill and— because, if there is a Division, my name will be against the Amendment—I am trying to avoid any possible suspicion of having myself sided with homosexuals. It would be much easier to abstain or vote for the Amendment, but to me that would be an act of cowardice.

4.6 p.m.


My Lords, I apologise for intervening a few moments ago at the wrong place. Perhaps I may be forgiven for wishing to make a few comments on this subject. I do not know a great deal about sodomy and what I do know about it I learned when I was in the Navy over a period of some 20 years. I know the great fear there was among the higher command of the Fleet when thousands of men were tied up in ships in Scapa Flow for four years and more. The fear was that there would be an outbreak of sodomy. There was not, but the reason for the fear about it was over the effect it would have on the morale of the Fleet. I believe the same question arises in Scotland in connection with the Bill; there may be a great effect on the morale of people who have been brought up as Presbyterians with very strict views on matters such as this.

When I was in the Navy I recall being approached by the master at arms one evening in my cabin and asked whether I would be good enough to act as prisoner's friend to a boy who was being court-martialed for sodomy. I said I did not want to be mixed up in the matter, but he pointed out that traditionally it was the duty of every commissioned officer, when asked by men to represent them as friends, to do so. I went to the cells and saw this wretched creature, for that is what he was, and he told me that what had happened to him was a question of assault. I discovered from the medical officers a good deal about this practice and eventually I appeared as the prisoner's friend. I put both of the doctors in the witness box and then I put the wretched boy in the witness box and the result was that he got off.

After the court-martial my captain told me a good many home truths about myself which had better not be printed, but he entirely disagreed with what I had done. He said there was no answer to it and that the boy should have gone to prison or some other place. On the other hand, I got quite a reputation as one who stood up for the lower deck, though I am sorry to say that my next case resulted in three years in a Maltese prison for a man who struck his superior officer in the execution of his duty.

In my view this change is not wanted by the people of Scotland as I know them. I do not believe a word that has been said about its being a necessity. I do not know anything about the law on the subject, but I would leave it as it is: we are too fond of poking our noses into the law. Let us leave it to the people to decide and not go messing about with it. Noble Lords will appreciate that my vote will be for the Amendment.


My Lords, if I may, with the leave of the House, speak again at this stage, I should like to say that the noble Lord, Lord Wilson of Langside, put the suggestion to me in the course of his remarks that the same effect might be achieved by omitting the words "in private" from Section 7 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 1976. I have now been advised that Section 7 covers all homosexual acts between males in public or private. Therefore it would not be sufficient to omit the words "in private", as Section 7 would not then make illegal, for example, acts between adults and those under 21 and acts between adults one of whom does not consent. However, there is much to be said for seeking to achieve what the Bill seeks to achieve by modelling the drafting more closely on the 1976 Act, rather than on the 1967 Act. Such an approach would produce a more satisfactory Act, and I thought that such a comment might be useful at this stage in your Lordships' deliberations.

4.11 p.m.

The Earl of SELKIRK

My Lords, I should like to say a few words on this matter because I belong to the guilty party who was on the Consolidation Committee which is the basis from which this whole wretched business started. In consolidation one does not omit, one consolidates the matter as it stands, and nobody really noticed what was the situation until the Consolidation Bill came out, and then the furore started. I am very glad that the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, has raised the age to 21, because I think that that makes the position much easier. However, I do not feel frightfully strongly about bringing the laws together identically, particularly bearing in mind, as the noble Lord said, that it is no more than a recognition of the existing situation. The situation has been going on for so long, on the basis of the Lord Advocate's decision, that I do not think there is the slightest chance of any Lord Advocate in the future changing his policy one way or the other.

I should like to ask a question here. I wonder whether the system existing in Scotland is not rather more elastic than that in the Bill which we have in front of us. In the Bill there is, quite inevitably, a series of exceptions. Exceptions can be read, or can be interpreted in due course, and there will be narrow limits, inevitably, as to what applies and what does not apply. There will be a whole range of such matters, which I need not go into now. However, to my mind the Lord Advocate's discretion in this matter is probably rather wider. I do not know exactly how this discretion would be exercised, but, to give an obvious example, I should be extremely reluctant to believe that the Lord Advocate would prosecute someone aged, say, 20. The Bill, however, would compel him to do that. That is only one point, but there may be a whole range of others.

I wonder whether in the present circumstances this is a necessary Bill—I very much wonder whether it is. There are many definitions here. More definitions could be put in, or the definitions could be amended, but they will always be difficult to interpret, and in any case at the end of the day the Lord Advocate has to make up his mind. The prosecutions are entirely confined to the Lord Advocate, and he has to make up his mind. As I think the noble Lord, Lord Wilson of Langside, knows very well, what makes the Lord Advocate make up his mind is not the question of whether an offence has been committed, but whether that offence can be proved. This is why prosecutions are brought.

I should have liked to know whether blackmail is prevalent in Scotland under the present arrangements. The noble Lord, Lord Campbell, said that he did not know about it. The noble Lord, Lord Wilson of Langside, probably knows much more about this than any of us. I should have liked the Scottish Law Commission to look at this subject before we went straight into it. It is a subject which people feel extremely strongly about. If there was ever a Scottish Assembly this would be a proper subject for that body. I find it very hard to say that this is a necessary Bill, and I do not think it would make the slightest difference at all.


My Lords, I should like to put a point to the noble Earl before he sits down. I wonder whether he appreciates that my point about the Lord Advocate which I made when I was addressing your Lordships' House, was not critical of the right of any Lord Advocate to have a discretion. My complaint was that the Lord Advocate in this situation gave up his discretion and said, "I shall not prosecute". This is the point."

The Earl of SELKIRK

My Lords, I appreciate that point, but the Lord Advocate was doing no more than following a long line of Lord Advocates before him—


But none of them had said it.

The Earl of SELKIRK

No, perhaps that was a mistake of the Lord Advocate, but I am not sure that it was a mistake in the procedure.

4.15 p.m.


My Lords, I must apologise for taking part in the debate without having put my name on the list of speakers, but until late last night I was not certain that I could manage to he here. I should like to say a few words about this matter, exercising the freedom which is now mine, having moved along the Chamber a little way. I do not accept the first grounds on which the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, put forward the Bill; the desirability of bringing the law of Scotland into line with the law of England. I have been responsible for moving in your Lordships' House far too many Bills in which the law of Scotland was to continue to be different from that of England to accept that that in itself is a reasonable ground for doing it.

The position is in fact that the administration of the law in England and Scotland is identical at present because of what the Lord Advocate openly admitted last year. He did not make any change in the practice; to my knowledge at least three of his predecessors acted in exactly the same way, in both Labour and Conservative Administrations. I believe that the practice of the Lord Advocates in changing the law administratively preceded the actual change of the law in England, because it was not only in 1967 that Lord Advocates started to ignore the law in Scotland; they had been doing it for at least some years before that. I would suspect that the present practice in Scotland goes back not 10 years, but at least 20 years; just as the law on abortion in Scotland was ignored before the law was changed.

I should like to turn for a few moments to what was said by the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier. We must all have been impressed by the total sincerity with which he expressed his views. I think that this would be the feeling of even those who totally disagree with what he said. My only criticism of what the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, said was on the point put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont of Whitley—that referring to the Assembly was rather a ploy than a reason. In his speech the noble Lord, Lord Ferrier, made it clear that he was opposed to this measure root and branch. If it comes before an Assembly he would be against it there, if he were in the Assembly. If there is not an Assembly, and a Bill such as this comes forward at some future time in this Chamber, he would still be against it. His opposition is to the principle, not to the place where the legislation would take place.

But as I have said, the position taken up by Lord Advocates over a succession of years could be accepted so long as it was being applied but not openly admitted. The present Lord Advocate has totally changed the position. He has created the situation that an officer of the law has publicly stated that he is not going to apply the law of Scotland. It may be that that is a wise thing to do, but surely once we know that position the correct remedy is to make the law what the Lord Advocate is prepared to implement. In recent years there have been far too many instances of people choosing the laws which they wish to obey. We can all give many examples of these.

Surely it is not conducive to good law if there is a situation where an officer of the law is stating exactly the same position —that he is going to choose the laws which he will prosecute. Surely the remedy is to make the law what it ought to be, and it so happens that in that case the best course would be to adopt something similar, if not identical, to the law which now prevails South of the Border. If that were done, then we would at least have done something in this House, and in Government, to make certain that we are not joining with those who choose the laws which they are going to obey.

The noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, referred to the question of morale, and the effect which this change would have on the morale of Scotland. Even when people in Scotland knew that the Lord Advocate was not applying the law, I was not aware of any request from any member of the public that the law should be enforced—and, after all, I was at the Scottish Office for more than seven years. Since the statement was made by the present Lord Advocate there has been no demand from the public, either generally or through organisations of which I am aware, asking that the Lord Advocate should apply the law. In that case, I would suggest that the people of Scotland accept that the present position is a desirable one, and therefore I think it should be made the legal one.

4.21 p.m.


My Lords, I do not really have anything to add. I think that the speeches of the noble and learned Lord, Lord Wilson of Langside, and the noble Lord, Lord Hughes, among others, have been quite decisive. I made it quite clear that I am not out to change the law of England; I made it quite clear that at the Committee stage I would resist any Amendments of this Bill which sought to change the law of England. I also made it quite clear that the Lord Advocate, having publicly stated that he did not propose to enforce a particular Act on the Statute Book, then the Statute Book, as the law, should be changed so that he can enforce it; because if the Crown Office of Scotland publicly states that it is not going to enforce a law on the Statute Book it cannot fail to bring the law into disrepute. I am ready, therefore, to accept any drafting Amendments that the Government may propose and to resist any proposed changes.

My Lords, to strike a lighter note, I am delighted to substitute "sodomy" for

"buggery". It makes no difference to what I am trying to carry out. I only want to see the law upheld and enforced.


My Lords, we have had enough of this, I think. I do not want to make any long speech although I might have some more to say; but the last few speeches have made it clear to me in my own mind that my doubts about the advisability of changing the law have been well founded. On behalf of those noble Lords who might support me and others who have supported me here, I should like to know who is in favour and who is against. I propose to divide the House and I will not detain your Lordships any longer.

4.24 p.m.

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

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 27; Not-Contents, 125.

Alport, L. Granville of Eye, L. Monck, V.
Blyton, L. Gridley, L. Newall, L.
Chesham, L. Hankey, L. Norwich, Bp.
Clwyd, L. Hawke, L. Sharples, B.
Derwent, L. Kinloss, Ly. Shinwell, L.
Effingham, E. Loudoun, C. Strathclyde, L.
Exeter, M. Lyell, L. Suffield, L.
Ferrier, L. [Teller.] Margadale, L. Vivian, L.
Glenkinglas, L. [Teller.] Maybray-King, L. Ward of North Tyneside, B.
Airedale, L. Cooper of Stockton Heath. L. Hale, L.
Alexander of Tunis, E. Cranbrook, E. Halsbury, E. [Teller.]
Allerton, L. Crook, L. Hanworth, V.
Amherst, E. Davies of Leek, L. Harcourt, V.
Ampthill, L. Denham, L. Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Annan, L. Douglas of Barloch, L. Harris of Greenwich, L.
Arwyn, L. Drumalbyn, L. Hatherton, L.
Avebury, L. Duncan-Sandys, L. Henderson, L.
Aylestone, L. Dundee, E. Hertford, M.
Balerno, L. Ebbisham, L. Hives, L.
Balogh, L. Ellenborough, L. Home of the Hirsel, L.
Banks, L. Elton, L. Houghton of Sowerby, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Elwyn-Jones, L. (L. Chancellor.) Hughes, L.
Blake, L. Evans of Hungershall, L. Jacques, L.
Boothby, L. [Teller.] Fisher, L. Janner, L.
Boston of Faversham, L. Foot, L. Killearn, L.
Brock, L. Fraser of Kilmorack, L. Kilmarnock, L.
Brockway, L. Fulton, L. Kirkhill, L.
Burntwood, L. Gaitskell, B. Leinster, D.
Caccia, L. Gardiner, L. Listowel, E.
Campbell of Eskan, L. Gladwyn, L. Llewelyn-Davies of Hastoe, B
Castle, L. Gordon-Walker, L. Lloyd of Hampstead, L.
Cawley, L. Greenway, L. Long, V.
Collison, L. Grey, E. Lovell-Davis, L.
Mancroft, L. Roberthall, L. Teynham, L.
Marley, L. Rochdale, V. Thurso, V.
Monson, L. Rusholme, L. Trefgarne, L.
Morris, L. Ruthven of Freeland, Ly. Vernon, L.
Morris of Grasmere, L. Sainsbury, L. Wakefield of Kendal, L
Northfield, L. St. Davids, V. Wallace of Coslany, L.
Onslow, E. Segal, L. Walston, L.
Oram, L. Shackleton, L. Ward of Witley, V.
Pannell, L. Sligo, M. Wells-Pestell, L.
Pargiter, L. Snow, L. White, B.
Peart, L. (L. Privy Seal.) Spens, L. Wigoder, L.
Peddie, L. Stamp, L. Willis, L.
Platt, L. Stedman, B. Wilson of Langside, L.
Porritt, L. Stone, L. Winterbottom, L.
Rankeillour, L. Strabolgi, L. Wolfenden, L.
Redcliffe-Maud, L. Strathcarron, L. Wootton of Abinger, B.
Ritchie-Calder, L. Taylor of Gryfe, L. Wynne-Jones, L.
Robbins, L. Taylor of Mansfield, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly; Bill read 2a and committed to a Committee of the Whole House.