§ MR. LEHMANN (Leicestershire, Market Harborough)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the case of the women now undergoing imprisonment for having taken part in the recent disturbances in Parliament Square, whether he can now see his way to consult with the magistrate who sentenced them with a view to the mitigation of their punishment.
§ MR. BYLES (Salford, N.)
Will the right hon. Gentleman now answer the 608 Question I put to him yesterday? Do not these punishments go far beyond anything that has the sanction of public opinion?
§ MR. SWIFT MACNEILL
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that this course of punishment is abhorrent to the feelings of this House, whose servant he is?
§ MR. CLAUDE HAY (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
Why does the right hon. Gentleman refuse in these cases to make a representation to the magistrates when he made such a representation in almost similar cases before?
§ MR. GLADSTONE
I have already answered that Question several times. It may be that originally I was rash in making the representation; but I made it under special circumstances, having regard to the fact that it was the first occasion on which the disturbances had, arisen, and that in my judgment the omission of the magistrate to state the condition was accidental. But it is no part of my duty to interfere with the discretion of the magistrates.
§ MR. ALDEN (Middlesex, Tottenham)
Are not these quasi-political offences, and is there any precedent for the punishment meted out?