§ (1) In Section one of the Vagrancy Act, 1898, and in Section one of the Immoral Traffic (Scotland) Act, 1902, in Sub-section (3) (which deals with the evidence of living on the earnings of prostitution) there shall be substituted for the words "and has no visible means of subsistence" the words "or is proved to have exercised control, direction, or influence over the movements of a prostitute in such a manner as to show that he is aiding, abetting, or compelling her prostitution."
§ (2) The period of imprisonment with hard labour which may be awarded to a person deemed to be a rogue and vagabond under the Vagrancy Act, 1898, or to a person convicted summarily of a crime and offence under the Immoral Traffic (Scotland) Act, 1902, shall be increased to six months.
§ (3) A person charged with an offence under the Vagrancy Act, 1898, or the Immoral Traffic (Scotland) Act, 1902, may, instead of being proceeded against in England as a rogue and vagabond, or in Scotland summarily, be proceeded against on indictment, and on conviction on indictment shall be liable to imprisonment with or without hard labour for a term not exceeding two years, and, in the case of a second or subsequent conviction, the Court may sentence the offender to be once privately whipped, and the number of strokes and the instrument with which they shall be inflicted shall be specified by the Court in the sentence.1843
§ (4) The wife of a person charged with an offence under either of the said Acts may be called as a witness either for the prosecution or defence and without the consent of the person charged, but nothing in this provision shall affect a case where the wife of a person charged with an offence may at common law be called as a witness without the consent of that person.
§ Which Amendment was to leave out Sub-section (1), and to insert instead thereof the words,
§ "(1) In Sub-section (1) of Section one of the Vagrancy Act, 1898, the word 'male' shall be repealed so far as regards paragraph (a) of that Sub-section, and in Sub-section (2) of the cited Section the word 'male' shall be repealed in both places where it occurs, and in the corresponding enactments of the Immoral Traffic (Scotland) Act, 1902, similar Amendments shall be made.
§ "In Sub-section (1), paragraph (d) of the above cited Section one of the Vagrancy Act, 1898, and in the corresponding enactment of the Immoral Traffic (Scotland) Act, 1902, there shall be inserted after the word 'prostitution' the words 'of another person.'"—[Mr. King.]
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill." Debate resumed.
I rise to move, "That the Debate be now adjourned," on the ground that we have received no notice, and we cannot proceed with business without notice. This matter has been sprung upon us.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I beg to second the Motion for Adjournment, for the reason given by my hon. Friend, the Member for Peterborough. It seems to me that this Bill, which is a highly contentious Bill, and which has already occupied a considerable portion of the time of the House on Report after Eleven o'clock at night, ought not to be proceeded with without flue notice. At the last meeting of the House, when the Bill Was considered on Report stage, we had an utterly futile discussion upon an Amendment moved by 1844 my hon. Friend, the Member for North Somerset (Mr. King), seconded by the hon. Gentleman, the Member for Inverness Burghs (Mr. Annan Bryce). That Amendment was not withdrawn. It still stands on the Paper, though it does not appear among the new Amendments. It was not previously on the Order Paper in the words in which it was moved, and I think it is extremely undesirable that we should at this time enter upon a discussion upon this extremely contentious Bill without due notice having been given. There are plenty of other Bills upon the Paper which are not opposed by Liberal Members. This Bill now introduces flogging for the first time, and that is a thing highly controverted by Liberals both outside and inside the House. We certainly urge this point. We want notice so that people both inside and outside the House should know what is going on. There has been, too, introduced the principle of flogging for different offences in connection with this traffic—the flogging of both men and women. We want to have this thing properly thrashed out after due notice has been given.
§ Mr. LEE
May I appeal to hon. Members opposite. This Bill as a matter of fact is on the Order Paper to-day, and the only question was at what hour it should be taken. I am sure that hon. Members do not suggest that it would be more for the convenience of the House that the Bill should be taken at half-past ten at night than that we should proceed with it now, at a convenient hour, and when there is plenty of time. [HON. MEMBERS: "Adjourn, adjourn," and "We will kill your Bill if you go on."] I would appeal to hon. Members on my own side of the House. This Bill is essentially a nonparty measure, and should be proceeded with in the interests, not of any party in this House, but from the strong and deep feeling which exists in its favour in all parts of the country.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ Mr. MOLTENO
It will be a great inconvenience if we proceed with this Bill now. We understood that it was to be put down for half-past ten, and there is nothing to indicate that it would be taken before. Very serious principles are involved in it. No mention primarily was made about any intention whatever to alter the Criminal Law of this country in the serious manner now proposed. Not one word was said by the introducer of this Bill to indicate that new principles were to be brought into the law of the 1845 country. Then, again, it was indicated that no new principle was involved in the Bill. The Home Secretary made a statement upon the Bill in which he pointed out that no change in the Criminal Law was involved, and it was only when we came to examine the Bill that we found that very serious proposals were made so as to interfere with the fair trial for these offences. In view of these facts I ask the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister to say whether it is fair to discuss the Bill after these statements when we know that new offences are introduced.
§ Mr. J. M. HENDERSON
I would appeal to the House on behalf of the Scottish Members to adjourn this Debate. I do not know whether the House is aware that for fifty years Scotland has had no flogging in its Criminal Code. It is alien to her law, and this Bill would introduce it into Scotland for the first time for fifty years. If I and my Friends had notice of this Bill in the ordinary Whip we would have arranged to put down Amendments to cut Scotland out of the Bill, as she was kept out of the Bill of 1883. I do not wish to avoid discussion of the Bill if I am not prevented from introducing an Amendment to cut Scotland out of it. I am entirely in favour of the principle of the Bill, but I object to introducing flogging into Scottish law.
§ Sir JOHN SPEAR
I hope the House will proceed to deal with this Bill. I believe there is no measure before Parliament in which the general public are more interested than the Criminal Law Amendment Bill. The Bill has been discussed in Committee, and the House itself has considered it on two or three occasions. We are now near the completion of the measure, and I think we should be consulting the best interests of the country if we further deal with it and pass it.
§ Mr. BARNES
I agree with my hon. Friend (Mr. J. M. Henderson) about flogging, but I see no reason why we should not proceed with the Bill. My hon. Friend says we should not proceed to discuss the Bill at this time. I quite understand the objections last week to discussing it at eleven or twelve o'clock at night, but here we are at four o'clock with ample time to discuss it and with ample opportunity of having publicity for our proceedings. It is said by my hon. Friend that he would like to put down an Amendment 1846 to exclude Scotland from the operations of the Bill. Might I remind him that this Amendment has been on the Paper two or three days, and therefore my hon. Friend had every opportunity of putting down an Amendment. He has full opportunity of doing so even now. I shall give my hon. Friend my hearty support if he moves to exclude Scotland, for I see no reason why we should not proceed to make some progress.
§ Mr. ALFRED LYTTELTON
I trust the House will proceed with the Bill. I certainly do not remember on any occasion such unanimity displayed in all parts of the House as to the necessity of dealing with this monstrous and abominable trade. It is perfectly true there has been very warm and serious difference of opinion upon the question of flogging: but I put it to the House that we ought to discuss that serious difference of opinion at four o'clock in the afternoon instead of half-past ten at night. Several discussions have taken place already upon it, even without any notice. For my part I most earnestly ask those who moved the adjournment to reflect on what they are doing. If this Bill is put off by a series of adjournments, it will simply mean that a number of innocent girls will be condemned unnecessarily to this awful and disgusting traffic.
§ Mr. DUNCAN MILLAR
I desire to dissociate myself from the hon. Member for Aberdeen (Mr. J. M. Henderson) on this question of flogging. I would point out to my hon. Friend that if he read the Amendments on the Paper he would see that he will have a perfectly clear opportunity of discussing this subject, because there is an Amendment to omit Sub-section (2) of Clause 6, which raises the whole question, and he can go into the Division Lobby and vote against it. I would urge the House to proceed with this very urgent measure. There is a very great interest in Scotland in this measure, and it should be proceeded with without further delay.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
I dissociate myself entirely from what was said by the hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire. He said he spoke on behalf of Scottish Members. I do not know who they are, and if there are any for whom he spoke, I should like to see them stand up and say this Bill should not be taken.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
The hon. Member wants us to continue the present state of evil in Scotland. I for one am most anxious to see this Bill applied to Scotland. I do not want to go into details now, but I want to protest against adjourning the consideration of the Bill now. The hon. Member says he thought this Bill was to be taken at ten o'clock. If he is not able to have his mind made up as to what he will do by four o'clock, I do not see that he is likely to have it made up at ten o'clock. I think we would not be doing our duty to the country if we did not proceed with the Bill now.
§ Sir THOMAS ESMONDE
We are very anxious that this Bill should be proceeded with. We had a holiday yesterday and we might now make use of our opportunity and forward this most important measure. Some hon. Members apparently have not finished the preparation of their speeches. I do not think these speeches are necessary and we could pass this Bill as well without them. We have nothing to do this afternoon, and I hope that we will make the most of our opportunities to pass this Bill.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I think it would be a mistake to adjourn this discussion, but I should like to know from the Government what other Bills they propose to take to-day.
§ Mr. G. GREENWOOD
Having made my protest I wish to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment. I wish, at the same time to protest against any suggestion that I am not anxious that this very proper measure of legislation should go through. Some of us think we ought to have had notice that the Bill would be taken, but having made that protest I ask leave to withdraw.
§ Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned," put, and negatived.
§ Question again proposed, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill." Debate resumed.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY rose—1848
§ Sir F. BANBURY
On a point of Order—not on this Amendment. The hon. Member for Somerset (Mr. King) moved an Amendment which was on the Paper. Then the hon. Member for Inverness (Mr. A. Bryce) said he wished to alter that Amendment, and consequently the Amendment which was moved was not this Amendment.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is mistaken. The Amendment which appears on the Paper is the Amendment seconded by the hon. Member for Inverness; it was put in that form.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I will put the question which I think the hon. Baronet has in his mind. The last time that this was discussed an appeal was made to the Law Officers of the Crown to state whether the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson) was right or wrong in his interpretation of the Section. He produced some books and read to the House some words and contended they applied, and then the question of the flogging of females was raised. There was a considerable amount of difference of view and different opinions were given, but when the Law Officers were asked to guide the House as to whether this would bring in the flogging of women no answer was given, and therefore the Debate on that occasion was adjourned. I think we are now entitled to ask, after this period of reflection, whether the hon. Member for Cambridge was right.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Before this Amendment is withdrawn I want some assurance from the promoters that some similar Amendment will not find its way back again into the Bill.
§ Mr. CHARLES CRAIG
On a point of Order. Has not the Amendment been withdrawn? [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."]
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
The Amendment we are referring to is on the Order Paper, and perhaps it would be well to explain what it 1849 is. It suggests that in Sub-section (1) of the Vagrancy Act of 1898 the word "female" shall be inserted. The Section will then include both male and female persons. This particular Section of the Vagrancy Act of 1899 states: "every male person," and as amended it will read:—
"every male or female person who knowingly lives wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution shall be deemed a rogue and vagabond within the meaning of the Vagrancy Act of 1824."
This question was discussed at considerable length at the last meeting of the House.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
I desire to ask, on a point of Order, whether, if the Amendment now being discussed is not withdrawn, it will be competent to consider the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division of Glasgow?
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Might I point out that the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division does not deal with the same point as that which is dealt with by this Amendment. In the case of this Amendment it deals with the Vagrancy Act of 1824 under which flogging takes place, whereas the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division does not bring in flogging or the Act of 1824, We want this Amendment negatived in order to rule out the flogging part, and we do not wish to rule out the Amendment of the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Surely the best course would be to allow this Amendment to be withdrawn. I put it to the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme that no good purpose can be served by arguing against an Amendment which the whole House desires should be withdrawn.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
If the House will negative the Amendment it will be quite satisfactory, or if the Home Secretary will give us a promise that it shall not be introduced later that will satisfy me. I do not think such an Amendment as this should be reintroduced in the middle of the night and pressed through without discussion, because that course would be unfair to those who are opposed to the re-enactment of this ancient Statute.
§ Mr. BARNES
I wish to know, if the Amendment of the hon. Member for Inver- 1850 ness (Mr. Annan Bryce) is negatived, shall I have an opportunity of moving my Amendment?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I really cannot answer points of Order in this way. I suggest that the proper course to adopt is to withdraw an Amendment which nobody wants, and then the hon. Member can discuss on a clear issue the points he has raised.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. BARNES
I beg to move, to leave out Sub-sections (1) and (2), and to insert instead thereof the words, "Where a person is proved to live with or to be habitually in the company of a prostitute and is proved to have exercised control, direction, or influence over the movements of a prostitute in such a manner as to aid, abet, or compel her prostitution, such person may on conviction be awarded a period of imprisonment for six months with hard labour."
This Amendment has two objects in view. First of all, I want to get rid of the references in the Bill as framed, and I also want to set out in a few simple and clear words the offence with which we are now dealing and the penalty for that offence. I wish to say a word or two on each of those two points. I put it to the House that the best way to achieve my object is to substitute the words I have moved for Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Clause 6. My hon. Friend has asked, What is the present punishment? If he had looked up the Acts referred to in the Bill he would have seen that the present punishment is three months' hard labour. It seems to me that sometimes references to previous Acts of Parliament may be justified if the Acts referred to are long and complicated, and it would then be difficult to embody them in a new Bill, but nothing of that sort is in question here. As it happens, these two Acts which are quoted in Clause 6 of this Bill are almost word for word alike. One of them is the Vagrancy Act of 1898, which applies only to England, and the other is the Immoral Practices (Scotland) Act, which, of course, applies only to Scotland; but those two Bills are almost identical, and they cover less space and contain fewer words than the Clause which we are now discussing. To prove this contention I propose to read those Clauses. The Act of 1898, which applies to England only, provides that—
"Every male person who knowingly lives, wholly or in part, on the earnings of prostitution, or in any public place 1851 persistently solicits for immoral purposes, shall be deemed to be a rogue and vagabond within the meaning of the Vagrancy Act of 1824."
The penalty under the Act of 1824 is three months' hard labour. There is another Clause in these two Acts dealing with the powers of the police which we have already dealt with, and the Act of 1902 also provides that— "Where a male person is proved to be living with or to be habitually in the company of prostitutes, and has no visible means of subsistence, he shall, unless he satisfies the Court to the contrary, be deemed to be living on the earnings of prostitution."
Those are the two Acts in full we are dealing with inferentially, and I want to get rid of those references so as to lay the thing down clearly and explicitly in the Bill. In getting rid of the reference of the Vagrancy Act of 1824 we are getting rid of an Act passed in a barbarous time when flogging was at the discretion of Justices of the peace, and there was no limitation as to their discretion in regard to flogging. Therefore there is a danger of dragging this Act in here, and of bringing in flogging for purposes other than the House has in mind. My Amendment does not bring in all that is contained in those Acts. In the first place, it omits the word "male." In my words I say "every person," and I am going to bring the woman in. I am against flogging women and against flogging men, but I see no reason why if a man is to be entitled to six months' hard labour for this offence, a woman should not also be entitled to six months' hard labour. Therefore by the omission of the word "male" the woman is brought in and will be given six months' hard labour in the event of a conviction. I also leave out the words "living wholly or in part on the earnings of prostitution." I think that is a very dangerous provision to put in a Bill, and I am not willing to give my vote in favour of loose wording of that sort, which might bring in the servant who is engaged in a house where prostitution takes place.
But apart from the servant it might drag in a good many more—for example, the elderly woman living on a prostitute and doing quite honestly the housework with a sincere desire to her reclamation; or it might bring in the poor relatives in a country district who might be taking 1852 money from such a woman, and therefore might be described as living wholly or in part on the money sent them by the erring sister in the town. They might be forced to accept that money, and might not make any inquiries as to where the money came from. If we put a proposal of that sort into an Act of Parliament I think there is a great risk of having our prisons full of people who are perhaps almost as deserving as we are. I see no reason why we should have these references, and I propose in my Amendment to set out the offence and the penalty in clear words. I have embodied the words of the Home Secretary, which seek to improve, and I think do improve, the wording of the old Acts—that is to say the old Acts which made it an offence in the case of a person convicted who is living with a prostitute and has no other visible means of subsistence. I think it is quite possible a person might have visible means of subsistence and might still be responsible for this kind of degradation. I think the words in the Bill are a great improvement. They are:
"or is proved to have exercised control, direction, or influence over the movements of a prostitute."
Those words are in my Amendment. I have an open mind as to the Amendment of the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme. But I am moving my Amendment with a view to simplifying the procedure and getting on with the discussion, and I propose to lay down for an offence, which we all agree is of an atrocious character, six months' imprisonment for a person who lives upon the degradation of a fellow creature.
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
I beg to second this Amendment, which appears to me to fulfil the intentions of the House as expressed the other night, and gets over the difficulty we then found ourselves in. I do not, however, commit myself to the exact words of this Amendment, and it may be found advisable to modify them later on.
§ The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. McKenna)
The Amendment differs from Sub-sections (1) and (2) of Clause 6 in the Bill in more respects than matters of form or even of punishment. There is more difference than the hon. Member suggests. I think it would be perhaps best if I were to read how Clause 6, Sub-section (1), of the Bill stands if we read into the Bill the words of the Vagrancy Act of 1898. That is to 1853 say, the amended form of Section 1 of the Act of 1898 would stand as follows:—Where a male person is proved to live with or to be habitually in the company of a prostitute, or is proved to have exercised control, direction, or influence over the movements of a prostitute in such a manner as to show that he is aiding, abetting, or compelling her prostitution, he shall, unless he can satisfy the Court to the contrary, be deemed to be knowingly living on the earnings of prostitution.The first difference between the Sub-section as it would stand under the Bill and the Sub-section proposed by my hon. Friend is that he conjoined the offences. He uses the word "and." [Where a male person is proved to live with … and is proved to have exercised control, direction, or influence."] The offence which we particularly wish to get at is the offence of the person who is not in many cases living with a prostitute. It is in fact the worst case of all, the organised offence of a single man who has several women working for him, acting immediately or directly under his control.
§ Mr. McKENNA
No, it does not mean exactly the same thing. My hon. Friend's Amendment differs from the Bill in more points than he has suggested. I think it would be a great mistake to drop out of the Bill the offence of controlling and directing the movements of a prostitute; and that, under my hon. Friend's Amendment, would not be an offence unless something else was also proved. Under the Act of 1898 a male person living with or habitually in the company of a prostitute cannot be punished if he has private means of his own. He produces a bank book and says he is carrying on some small business and he cannot be proceeded against under Section 1 of the Act of 1898. It is in order to remove that presumption this proposal is now made. My hon. Friend desires to get rid of flogging as a punishment for this particular class of offence. I really think those who oppose flogging are under a serious misapprehension as to what is now the practice and what has been the practice.
§ Mr. BARNES
I did not think the question of flogging came in here at all. It arises later on Sub-section (3) of the same Clause.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Yes, which the hon. Member proposes to omit. This Subsection we propose relates to the question of evidence as to when a person shall be deemed to be knowingly living on the earnings of prostitution, and flogging is the punishment prescribed under the Act of 1824. Therefore under this Sub-section, undoubtedly such a person for a second offence may be whipped.
§ Mr. McKENNA
However, I must proceed upon the assumption that the Courts would so interpret this Clause. It is quite true I have received contradictory advice, both from my right hon. Friend and another legal adviser of the Home Office; but, at the same time, other legal advisers have told me that, in their opinion, the Courts would interpret this offence as an offence under the Act of 1824, because the person committing the offence would be deemed to be a rogue and vagabond within the meaning of that Act. I am bound therefore, out of fairness to my hon. Friend, to say it is quite possible under Sub-section (1) a person convicted for the second time may be whipped or flogged. I cannot help thinking there may be a good deal of misapprehension on the question of flogging among my hon. Friends. Many of them have spoken as if flogging was a practice which had long ago been abandoned, which it is now proposed to revive, and as if a new Home Secretary had arisen who had abandoned all the, principles that were dear to the hearts of every Home Secretary who preceded him, and was now for the first time reintroducing a practice which this country abominates. I would really like to tell my hon. Friends what are the facts about flogging. At this moment a sentence of corporal punishment may be imposed under the Garrotters Act, 1863, for robbery with violence. I am now dealing with England and not with Scotland. The annual average of floggings under the Garrotters Act from 1901 to 1910 has been ten, and for the twelve months ended 31st October, 1912, the year during which I have been at the Home Office, the number has been three. So far from "this new torturer reintroducing this barbarous punishment," 1855 the facts have been that the average for the preceding ten years was ten, whilst in the year I have been at the Home Office the number was three. I must tell hon. Members something directly in the opposite sense. Those sentences have been enforced in all cases except that in cases for which I have been responsible I have omitted the second flogging. I will not deal with the cases of boys under sixteen. There has been a steady reduction there, although boys under sixteen have been steadily flogged. I now come to persons who, as incorrigible rogues, have been ordered to be whipped by Quarter Sessions under the Act of 1824. Here during the last year, and particularly during the last two or three months, there has been a very remarkable increase. These male persons have been whipped repeatedly for offences of knowingly living on the earnings of prostitution and for soliciting for immoral purposes in public places.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The most recent Act is that of 1898, which, by incorporating the Act of 1824, applies flogging, and it is under the Act of 1898 persons guilty of these particular offences have been punished with flogging. The matter is a little technical, but there is so much misunderstanding on the subject that I think the House ought to be informed of the facts. How comes it that quite recently there has been such a remarkable increase in flogging under the Act of 1898? Most of these floggings have been ordered in London, and it was in consequence of the large increase in this class of case in the London Courts that Mr. Lawrie, the deputy-chairman of the London Sessions, recently decided to try the effect of birching.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I will come to that point soon. Only last week four persons 1856 were ordered to be flogged. I may say at once that in these cases, unless the person appeals himself or by his friends, the matter does not come before the Home Secretary at all. These floggings are inflicted upon the order of the Court. Two persons of this class, found guilty of soliciting for immoral purposes, were sentenced to receive fifteen strokes of the birch rod. They asked leave to apply to the Court of Criminal Appeal, and that Court, consisting of the Lord Chief Justice, and Justices Darling and Avory, refused the application in the following words:—If ever there was a case for corporal punishment it is for that particular class of offence of which these applicants have been guilty-soliciting men for immoral purposes. The sentence was not too severe, and, possibly, in another case of the same kind, it might be necessary, in the event of appeal, to consider whether such sentences should not be increased.The deputy - chairman of the London Quarter Sessions, thus supported by the Court of Criminal Appeal, has continued the practice of awarding flogging or birching as a punishment for this particular class of offence, and, in consequence, the number of floggings during the last few years has seriously risen. In the twelve months ending 31st October, 1912, twenty-three such sentences were imposed.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Yes. There is one other class of person who may be flogged, and that is the criminal in prison who is guilty of an attack upon a warder. These are cases which, under the Prisons Act of 1908, must come up to the Home Secretary for his sanction.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I am not dealing with Scotland, I am dealing with England. These are cases, I repeat, which must come to the Home Secretary, and, surely, if there had been a determination by the holder of that office to unduly use this power, it would have been apparent in the figures relating to this class of cases. But what are the facts in regard to them? The annual average for the ten years—1901–1910—was thirty-seven—that is to say, my predecessors sanctioned an average of thirty-seven floggings in prison every year, but the total for the twelve months ending 31st October, 1912, was twenty-nine cases, and of these I refused to confirm three, so that the number for the last year has been far 1857 below the average. It has been represented that there is a change of policy by means of which cruelty and brutality are being introduced into the administration of the law. I utterly deny it. The real issue this House has to decide is this: Is it right and proper for these offences—living on the earnings of prostitution and soliciting by male persons for immoral purposes—is it right and proper that on a second conviction these crimes should be punishable by flogging? In my opinion, flogging is right; it is quite idle to say, notwithstanding what my hon. Friend may think upon it, that it is not a deterrent. I have endeavoured to discover in what number of cases the same person has been flogged twice. I do not say there are no such cases; but I do say this: that my most competent adviser on this particular point only recollects one case. There may be more; but it is certainly true to say that it is the rarest possible thing for any man who has once been flogged to commit another offence for which flogging may be administered.
§ Mr. McKENNA
It is neither right, in my judgment, to say "Flog for all offences," nor is it right to say "Never flog for any offence." Upon a matter of this kind, in connection with the administration of justice, the right course to take is to be guided by experience.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend claims the indulgence of the House more often than any other Member. We have, however, a consistent record of experience with regard to flogging, and we know that in the case of male persons guilty of these offences it does act as a deterrent. All kinds of theories used to be alleged against flogging which cannot be alleged now. Although in days gone by flogging was administered for many crimes, it was found that it did not, in fact, act as a deterrent. But it is equally true that by using it as an appropriate remedy for a particular class of offences it is to-day found to be a deterrent. One of my hon. Friends asks, "Why not flog women?" My reply is: We have no experience in regard to the flogging of women. We have not flogged them ever since the year 1858 1824. I do not know whether we did it at that date. I think that punishment was abolished by an earlier Act than that of 1824. Therefore for nearly 100 years we have not flogged women in England, and we have no experience to guide us as to its being a useful form of punishment. In my opinion it would not be. On the contrary, I think it would be a bad form of punishment. But in dealing with these particular offences to which I have been referring, flogging does have the desired effect, and our experience in England has been this: The evil has been steadily growing of late years, during a period when flogging was not administered, but now that it is imposed, we find it is acting as a deterrent and tending towards the absolute suppression of this particular class of unnatural vice in our midst. I would, therefore, submit to the House that the right course for it to pursue is to adhere to the Bill in its present form and not to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. RADFORD
This Clause raises the question of flogging, although in some quarters there is a certain amount of doubt as to whether it does actually inflict flogging on anyone. It is a deplorable state of things that we should now be passing a law involving wounds and mutilation in the process of flogging and at the same time should not be quite certain as to what its effect will be. But, assuming that the Clause does impose flogging, I should like to say a few words against it. I am not thinking of the wretches who may become liable to the punishment under this Clause. I am thinking of the right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary; I am thinking of this House and of this country. I am thinking what epitaph may be written for the right hon. Gentleman—although I hope it may be a long time before he becomes the subject for one—and I am wondering whether it will be to this effect:—Under the influence of virtuous emotion he undid the work of Sir Samuel Romilly and led his countrymen back to savagery.With regard to this House, I have heard one hon. Member after another get up and express, in warm language, the detestation with which the crime of procuration is regarded by him, and the length to which he is willing to go in order to stamp it out. We may take it for granted that every hon. Member holds such views as these. But that does not lend any help to the decision of the question whether or not the proposal now before the House is a wise one. 1859 I desire this House to be wise even when legislating under the influence of just indignation, and I should like our country, which for 100 years has preserved a reputation for humanity among the nations of the world, to continue to preserve it in the provisions of its Criminal Law. Approaching the subject from that point of view, I propose to deal with the question of flogging raised by this Clause. The right hon. Gentleman the Home Secretary is acting on the simple and artless plan that if crime prevails you can stamp it out by increasing the penalty. He keeps a kind of debtor and creditor account. On the one side he puts down so much as profit resulting from the crime, and on the other side he places the penalty, and if crime continues to prevail he says, "Let us add to the penalty and then we can stamp it out." That is not the way in which the criminal behaves. He sees things more clearly. He does not keep a debtor and creditor account of pains and penalties: he looks to escape altogether. It has been proved by experience that increasing the penalty is not the way to stamp out crime. In the eighteenth century, the legislators of that period anticipated the policy now adopted by the right hon. Gentleman. They said, "Crime prevails, and we must stamp it out. We will put more on to the penalties." They added flogging, imprisonment, transportation, and death for many offences, with the result that, in the beginning of the nineteenth century, our law was in such a state that Sir Harry Poland, who knows more about the history of law and crime in this country than most men, declared that—To go back to the beginning of the nineteenth century in the matter of the Criminal Law is to go back to the days of barbarism.In those days we had flogging for everything. We had imprisonment, transportation, and death for more than 200 classes of offence, and yet crime did not diminish. It increased. Then we abolished all that savagery. We confined the death penalty to murder, we limited flogging to a few cases under the Vagrancy Laws, and, as the right hon. Gentleman has said, in 1820 we abolished flogging for women altogether. For nearly 100 years no woman has been flogged in this country under process of law. How long that immunity will last I do not know, because I understand a right reverend prelate has recently been advocating the flogging of women and the repeal of the Act of 1820.
1860 Now it seems that at the beginning of the twentieth century we are to revert to the savagery from which we emerged under Sir Samuel Romilly, one of the noblest spirits in our history, and we are to be led back to it by the Home Secretary of a Liberal Administration, assisted by a fatuous bishop, who wishes to add the flogging of women to his other episcopal accomplishments. I hope * the House will think twice and thrice before it adopts the proposal now before us. We have proved by experience the futility of the practice, and we found, under the guidance of Sir Samuel Romilly, who repealed all the savage machinery of the previous century, that crime diminished in spite of the leniency of the Criminal Law. That was partly due to the fact that the police administration was greatly improved. That was the right line to pursue, and not the line of imposing savage penalties. With regard to Clause 1, we have made an innovation in the law under which, although it involves some risk to individual liberty, we have allowed an arrest to take place on suspicion and without a warrant. In my opinion we shall have done more to stamp out this evil by that method than if we had imposed a death penalty in all cases of procuration. This is a matter of great gravity and importance. In conclusion, I should like to say that the right hon. Gentleman, who has given us some recent figures with regard to flogging in this country, has advanced a very important argument against his own proposal. He has shown that the judges and magistrates in our land have reached a degree of humanity which he does not appear to have attained himself.
§ Mr. RADFORD
The judges and magistrates who have the power to impose the penalty do not, in fact, do so.
§ Mr. RADFORD
Only to this degree. There are millions of inhabitants in this country, and yet the right hon. Gentleman tells us that the records show only ten, twelve, or twenty-three cases for every twelve months. That does not justify your putting these barbarous practices on the Statute Book. The fact illustrates what was said by my hon. and learned Friend, the Member for Peterborough (Mr. George Greenwood) who made a speech covering the whole ground. He told us that the 1861 punishment of flogging was uncertain. That it is uncertain appears from the statement of the right hon. Gentleman that the great majority of our judges do not inflict it. There are a few judges, whom I will not characterise, who do impose this penalty, and the result of it is that the chances are a thousand to one against a man committing this offence Setting the punishment the right hon. Gentleman desires. My hon. and learned Friend also told us that it was an unequal punishment, and depended upon the physique of the prisoner and the physique and ferocity of the executioner. For that reason it is one of the worst punishments. It is not a deterrent. Not only argument, but history and experience show that it does not prevent crime, and that you can deal with crime by better methods than those attempted by this Clause. I implore hon. Members to think twice and thrice before they revert to this barbarous punishment which we are invited by the Home Secretary to adopt.
§ Colonel LOCKWOOD
I am really aghast at the statements made by the hon. Member. We have heard a great deal during the course of his remarks about Romilly. I do not know anything about Romilly. All I know is this: That if Romilly's daughter had been exposed to the horrors to which these women are exposed he would have been the very first to beg for punishment such as we are now dealing with. I cannot understand the argument of hon. Members opposite when they take this violent line against the punishment of people who have lost all sense and all ideas of honour and all ideas of anything which makes a man a man. I cannot understand why they should be so very anxious to spare his feelings. What remedy do they propose to apply to these persons to whom we propose to apply flogging? Do they propose to say to them, "If you please, will you kindly not recommit this offence and then we shall think better of you?" There is one remedy, and one remedy only, a short, sharp appeal to their feelings, which can be used as a deterrent.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
I find myself in a great difficulty in this discussion, because I never hear a speech with which I do not a great deal disagree. I do not agree with my right hon. Friend who has just sat down in the speech he has just made, but I do agree that in this case there is not a sufficient reason for the course that 1862 hon. Members opposite desire to pursue. Let us look at what it is these two Subsections really desire to do. Their object—I shall say a word or two about the method by which they seek to attain it in a moment—is to remove what has been a technical defence for a crime which is of a very serious character. It is not proposed to impose flogging for the first time under these Sub-sections at all. The flogging exists; it has been in existence since, at any rate, 1898, but up till now the people charged with this offence have been able to escape by producing a £5 note. That is a ridiculous system, which nobody can and nobody does defend. Since all these Subsections propose to do—they propose to do it in a clumsy manner—is to remove that defence, I think a great deal of these heroics from the other side are rather misplaced. If a man may have been flogged since 1898 for this offence provided he had not got £5 in his pocket, that is not a matter upon which we ought to get very excited if we are going to flog those who have got a £5 note in their pocket at this moment. May I say to the Home Secretary and those in charge of the Bill that I am a little distressed at the actual form in which the Clause is cast when we come to see what its actual effect will be. As a matter of drafting I greatly prefer the method by which the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division (Mr. Barnes) proposes to proceed. We are going to say that a person who is proved to have exercised control, direction, or influence over the movements of a prostitute in such a manner as to show that he is aiding, abetting, or compelling her prostitution, is, by reference to the Act of 1898, to be deemed, unless he can show to the contrary, to be living on the earnings of prostitution, and the effect of that will be read into Subsection (1) of Section 1 of that Act, so as to make him liable to the penalties of the Vagrancy Act of 1824, which, when you consult it, makes him liable to a penalty of six months' imprisonment, with whipping on the second offence. That is a very complicated and very disastrous form of legislation when you are dealing with the Criminal Law. I do regret that in drafting this Clause the much shorter form proposed by the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division, with whipping added for the second offence, was not adopted. We should then have known what we were doing.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
The point is that at present the magistrate can order whipping under the Vagrancy Act, 1824. Under Sub-section (3) you have to proceed by indictment, going to Quarter Sessions or to the Assize.
§ Mr. GEORGE GREENWOOD
You do not proceed by indictment. The prisoners are sent up from the Quarter Sessions. The Court of Summary Jurisdiction remits them under Section 10 to Quarter Sessions. They never come before the Grand Jury; they are only dealt with for punishments.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
The hon. Member may be right or wrong. I am referring to the exact form of Sub-section (3). May I point out these practical difficulties, and I ask the attention of the Home Secretary to this. It seems to me that under the Bill as it stands, if he will refer to the Act of 1898, it will still be open to a prisoner to prove that he is in fact not living on the earnings of prostitution. Under the Bill he will still be able to show that he has visible means of subsistence and that he is not living on the earnings of prostitution, and I imagine that he will be able to show that he has other ostensible means of support.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
Those are not the words in Sub-section (3). If the right hon. Gentleman will look at it he will see it says:—Unless he can satisfy the Court to the contrary … shall be deemed to be knowingly living on the earnings of prostitution.That does not say in whole or in part.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
But in Subsection (3) the words are different from Sub-section (1). There is another more serious point. You still leave all loopholes open to women. That seems to be an almost indefensible proposition. The hon. Gentleman opposite (Mr. Radford) made an exceedingly unworthy reference to a bishop because he said something about the flogging of women—I do not know what it was—and I do not think that was a very useful contribution to our Debates. It is quite true, according to the evidence of everybody, that women 1864 are among the worst offenders, and are probably the worst offenders. I think it is a very serious blot on the Bill that it does not deal with women at all, and it is the kind of blot you are bound to have if yon follow this insane system of dovetailing one reference in with another. I should have preferred to leave out Sub-sections (1) and (2) and to adopt, as the basis of our discussion, the Amendment of the hon. Member for the Blackfriars Division, altering it by leaving out the word "and" and inserting the word "or"—that is a drafting matter—and by inserting whipping for the second offence if the House, as I think it ought to be, is desirous that that should be done. May I say a word on that matter? I have tried to point out that this is no change we are making, and right through the Debates I have taken a very strong line in my own mind as to the distinction between flogging for the first and for the second offence. I quite agree there is a great deal to be said against flogging for the first offence. There is always a chance of judicial error and all the rest of it. When a man is really making a deliberate trade of this kind of thing we must all admit that the offence is of the most serious possible character, and if it is shown by a second offence that he is actually determined to do it in spite of having been punished by imprisonment already, it seems to me that the occasion has arisen when you may adopt what I regard as the very extreme course of sentencing him to be whipped. Therefore I shall support the substance of the Bill as it stands. I hope the Government will be able to see their way to make the change of drafting I have suggested; but, if they do not, I am in favour of the substance, and I shall vote with them.
§ The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. Ure)
May I point out what I think to be the real scope of the Amendment. If the Statutes of 1898 and of 1902 permit flogging as a punishment for this offence, then this Amendment will not prevent it. But I think I shall be able to show that neither of those Statutes sanctions flogging for offences which they deal with. In the first place, it is quite certain that the Scotch Act of Parliament does not permit flogging. It explicitly provides that the punishment for an offence against the first Section of the Act is imprisonment with hard labour for a period not exceeding three months. I was quite certain when I read the Scotch Statute of 1902 that Parliament intended it to be an exact transla- 1865 tion of the English Statute of 1898, and on closer examination I was satisfied that that is so, and that when the English Statute of 1898 says that a man convicted of an offence under the first Section of that Act shall be deemed a rogue and vagabond under the Statute of 1824, that means that he shall be imprisoned for a period not exceeding three months with hard labour, but does not mean that he will be subjected to the punishment of flogging. My reason for saying that is this. The fourth Section of the Statute of 1824 tells you that a man is to be deemed a rogue and vagabond if he commits certain offences. Flogging is not a punishment for a man who is deemed a rogue and vagabond under the Statute of 1824. The fifth Section of that Statute tells you what is an incorrigible rogue. An incorrigible rogue is a man who commits a second offence against the Statute of 1824 and against that Statute only. When a man commits a first offence, he is a rogue and vagabond merely, but when he commits his second offence against the Act of 1824 he is an incorrigible rogue. Under the tenth Section of the Act of 1824 the punishment for an incorrigible rogue is imprisonment, with whipping at the discretion of the justices, so that whipping is provided exclusively for the incorrigible rogue, and there is no whipping permitted by that Statute for a man who is merely a rogue and vagabond. The words of the Statute are free from all ambiguity. The error comes in from interpreting a side note to the Statute as if it were the Statute itself.
§ Mr. URE
An error on the part of certain hon. and learned Gentlemen who are advising the Home Secretary. Parliament in 1902 was not proceeding blindly when it passed the Scottish Statute, but had before it the words of the English Act and translated them with perfect precision into the Scotch Act. Now, suppose I am quite wrong, and suppose the Amendment were carried. It does not take out of the Statutes of 1898 or 1902 the provision that a man who is convicted of an offence under that Act is a rogue and vagabond. We are dealing here exclusively with Subsection (3) of Section 1 of the Immoral Traffic Act, and Sub-section (3) is confined exclusively to defining what is meant by the words "knowingly living on the earnings of a prostitute," and it enables the Court to judge whether the evidence is sufficient for a conviction by setting out 1866 quite explicitly that a man is deemed to be living on the earnings of a prostitute wherever he is proved to live with or has been habitually in the company of a prostitute. So that if we carry the Amendment now we should not in the slightest degree affect the punishment that is to be awarded for the offence. All we are doing is to alter the interpretation Clause of the Scotch Act and the English Act, which says that knowingly living on the earnings of a prostitute means so and so, and directs the Court what are the facts that it should find in order to come to the conclusion that an offence has been committed.
§ Mr. BARNES
Has the right hon. Gentleman failed to notice that my Amendment, specifies six months instead of three?
§ Mr. URE
I have not failed to notice that at all. I did fail to note, for it is not there, that the hon. Gentleman was going to repeal Sub-section (1), paragraphs (a) and (b), which are the operative words which define the offence. The offence would remain exactly as it is now on the Statute Book if the Amendment were carried. All that the hon. Member is doing is to alter the interpretation Clause in these two Acts which guide the Court when they have the facts before them as to whether or no they can come to the conclusion that an offence has been committed. But I hope the House will yield to the appeal of the Noble Lord and reject the Amendment, for it is really a very serious matter indeed. That little word "and" makes all the difference in the world. We have already struck out the word "and" where it prefaces the words "has no other visible means of subsistence."
§ Viscount HELMSLEY
I should be quite prepared to have the Amendment with the word "or" instead of "and."
§ Mr. URE
There is a tremendous difference between "and" and "or." If you introduce the word "and," it means that you have to prove all this in addition to proving that the man lives with her and in addition to proving that the man lives wholly or in part upon her earnings. Accordingly you are undoing the work which we did in Committee where we struck out the word "and," prefacing the words "no visible means of subsistence," and we are now introducing another condition, which imposes a very heavy burden upon the Public Prosecutor—a burden which he is wholly unable to discharge. For, let me 1867 assure the House from my personal experience, that the necessity of proving that a man has no visible means of subsistence has proved to be a serious difficulty in the way of procuring a conviction under the Immoral Traffic Act. We are actually putting on the Public Prosecutor the burden of proving a negative. Of course it is ridiculous, but I have frequently been told that convictions have been avoided in cases where a man was able to produce a five-pound note or a sum of money, as the magistrate agreed that he had visible means of subsistence. Therefore I ask the House not to accept this Amendment, for it really seriously militates against the usefulness of the Act. I believe if we strike out the words "visible means of subsistence" we shall have done the best day's work we ever did on this Bill. We have greased the wheels and made it beautifully easy for the Public Prosecutor to prove his case, whereas in many instances it is now a sheer impossibility.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
If the word "or" was substituted for "and," would the Amendment cover the same ground as the more complicated form in which it is in the Bill?
§ Mr. BARNES
I indicated when I moved the Amendment that I was quite willing to have words inserted to strengthen it. I should be quite willing to accept the word "or" for "and" and the word "summary" in front of the word "conviction." I understand from the lawyers that the word "summary" would much simplify it.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
The House is always graceful to the Lord Advocate for putting matters so extremely clearly. At times I am inclined to agree with what he says, but there was a tremendous amount of pressure in his speech to us. He told us that under the Vagrancy Act there is no power to flog a person for a second offence.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
We call it the Vagrancy Act. I quite follow the point. There are two Vagrancy Acts. The Act of 1824 and the Act of 1898. In the Act of 1824 it says that a person upon the second conviction for an offence under the Statute of being a rogue and vagabond, becomes an incorrigible rogue, and shall be liable to be whipped. Under the Vagrancy Act of 1898 any person who commits these offences is to be deemed a rogue and vagabond within the meaning of the Act of 1824. Therefore, the learned Gentleman who advises the Home Secretary has taken the view which, I am bound to say, was shared by the vast majority of people in England, that when a person was convicted a second time under the Act of 1S98 he was deemed a rogue and vagabond, and therefore became liable to be whipped. That was the common view. If I am wrong on the point, I am only too satisfied. Only a few minutes ago the Home Secretary told us in a speech of great eloquence that during the last three months, in consequence of what had passed in the Committee upstairs, the general feeling was found to be not against flogging as had been erroneously thought before. No doubt that had an effect. We gathered from that speech that among others, Mr. Lawrie, who has been recently appointed Deputy-Chairman of Quarter Sessions, has frequently enforced this punishment under this very Act. It will be interesting for him to know, after the clear and lucid opinion given by the Lord Advocate, that he has been ordering the whipping of these people without the slightest warrant, and that they may have rights of action against him for so doing. I do not know whether there are third party rights of indemnity as against, the Home Secretary or the Lord Chancellor. Can we really accept the Lord Advocate's statement of the law? Let us got one step further. The hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. G. Greenwood) who has taken endless trouble over this Bill, seeing the difficulty under the Bill as it stood, endeavoured to get it amended. We are reduced to a most extraordinary position, and I do object to this strongly. When the Bill went upstairs we understood that there was power for flogging under the Vagrancy Act. I am not going to repeat my arguments against flogging. I believe in certainty of conviction and not in increasing the severity of punishment. When the Bill went upstairs there were 1869 some of us against the power of flogging under the Vagrancy Act. I think every Member of the Committee, except the promoters of the Bill, when Sub-section (3) of Clause 6 was put in giving power when a man was convicted the second time under this Vagrancy Act to punish by flogging, thought that the offender might be flogged once after the verdict of a jury. That we thought was in substitution for any other form of whipping.
I did not realise myself until a day or two ago that we are in this extraordinary position. Lender Sub-section (1) and (2) of Clause 6 there is power to order a man who is convicted a second time under the Vagrancy Act of 1828 to be whipped as an incorrigible rogue—that is whipped as often as you like during the sentence with anything the Recorder likes. The power of passing such a sentence is put in the hands of young men, who, it may be, are men of only five years standing, and the prison officials. You give them that power under Sub-section (2) of Clause 6 for some reason I am at a loss to understand, unless the Lord Advocate is right. You put in Sub-section (3) which says that a man convicted of the identical same offence may be proceeded against by indictment and sentenced in the High Court to be flogged only once, and in that case you indicate very carefully that the Court is to state the instrument with which the flogging is to be done. I do complain bitterly of this. I have said, not once, but two or three times, that I am in thorough sympathy with the object of the Bill, but I say when you are dealing with punishment by the lash you ought to be perfectly straight, and you ought to put in undoubted terms what you mean. If the Lord Advocate is right, I am perfectly amazed. The hon. Member for Peterborough put in at the end of Clause 2, that such offenders shall not be liable to be dealt with as incorrigible under the Act of 1824, and that, of course, would carry out the Lord Advocate's view of the law at the present moment. I saw then that a drafting Amendment would be required, and when I suggested that it should be made, I was told, "Drafting Amendment, certainly not," and it was not accepted. After the Lord Advocate has told us that there is no power to flog a person convicted of being a rogue and vagabond under the Act of 1824, surely you ought to put that in black and white in this Bill that there shall be no power to deal with him as an incorrigible rogue under the Statute of 1824. 1870 That would still leave power to flog under Sub-section (3).
I do most strongly urge, in view of what the Lord Advocate has told the Committee, that the Government is bound to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Peterborough, and say that they do not mean that there should be an alternative power of flogging a man. I have already explained that, on indictment, a judge has power to order flogging once. That is put down in black and white. This other power of flogging under the Vagrancy Act is a very bad form, because it gives too much discretion to those who inflict it. I venture to say that if you are to have flogging at all, it should be under Sub-section (2) and not under Sub-section (3). The Home Secretary, in his speech, said that the power of flogging under the Vagrancy Act had become almost a dead-letter until three months ago. During the last three months there has been a marked increase in the infliction of that penalty. I think the right hon. Gentleman said there had been twenty-three cases in the last three months. Once it gets known that you are in favour of flogging, or that a majority of this House are in favour of it, it will probably become more common. The general view amongst those who administer the law was that the Liberal party were strongly against flogging. I am not complaining of what is done by the House, but let us understand that this is only a beginning in that direction. I have never opposed giving power to flog with the birch, but I have opposed flogging with the cat. Surely we should put in the Bill some restraining power, and I say you should restrict the punishment to flogging with the birch. Before we pass Sub-sections (1) and (2), I think it should be made clear that what the Lord Advocate has stated in his speech is good law.
§ Sir THOMAS ESMONDE
I have listened carefully to the speeches made on this question, but I am not at all sure that the Amendment is not better than the Clause as it stands. I understand that if the word "or" is substituted for the word "and," the position would be perfectly safe. It is very much simpler. The words of the Clause are involved and confused, and any hon. Member who has had experience of the local administration of the law must realise what an extraordinary difficulty arises when the law is left to be administered by reference. The Amendment makes the matter perfectly clear and 1871 simple. I do not think there can be any doubt that the offence of living on the profits of prostitution will be brought under this Bill if the Amendment of the hon. Member is accepted. The most important point, after all, in the Amendment is that it brings women under the operation of the Clause. That really is a question of most supreme importance, and I do not know any other provision in the Bill where that purpose has been attempted to be carried out. On the face, of it, therefore, the Amendment of the hon. Member is very much better than the Clause in the Bill. It makes it perfectly clear that a penalty of six months shall be awarded, and unless I hear from those responsible for the Bill that the Amendment is likely to injure it, I must decline to oppose it.
§ Mr. McKENNA
With the leave of the House, may I state that I have listened to the speech of my right hon. Friend and the force of his argument appears to be irresistible. However, it might be desirable, in view of the argument of the hon. Member opposite, to accept the words at a later stage of my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Mr. Greenwood), and rely for the power to flog upon Sub-clause (3), so we may dismiss that part of the discussion from this present Amendment. We then come to the simple point whether you should include females as well as males for all purposes, and it is quite clear that it is not suitable to treat a female on the same lines, because the female can be living with a prostitute perfectly innocently, if, for instance, she were a sister, whereas you presume guilt where the male lives with a prostitute. Consequently, though it may appear hereafter that the female should be punished, it cannot be on precisely the same terms as the male, and therefore I would suggest to my hon. Friend, as his Sub-clause would injure the Bill, that with the assurance which I have given he should accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough and not press this Amendment, but should leave Sub-sections (1) and (2) as they are now proposed, subject to this, that as a mere matter of drafting we would propose in another place to redraft the Clause so as to set out in full what the precise effect would be.
§ Mr. NORMAN CRAIG
I wish to draw-attention to a point which appears to me to be serious. The right hon. Gentleman 1872 is good enough to say that he is prepared to have considered elsewhere the language of this Clause and the consequences.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Not the consequences. The only question raised by the Noble Lord opposite is that we should consider the point of drafting, in order to see whether it is possible to bring into one Clause the full effect.
§ Mr. NORMAN CRAIG
So I understand the right hon. Gentleman, and it is for that reason that I wish to put the facts before them, because as the provision stands the words are, "or is proved to have exercised control, direction, or influence, over the movements of a prostitute in such a manner as to show that he is aiding, abetting, or compelling her prostitution." I would like the right hon. Gentleman to consider what the value of the language is, because if a man invites a prostitute to go to a hotel for immoral purposes, he influences her movements in such a way as to show that he abets prostitution, and any man who takes a woman to a hotel for immoral purposes is therefore deemed to be knowingly living on the earnings of prostitution when, in fact, he is paying the woman. I am in sympathy with the policy of the Bill, but—
§ Sir F. BANBURY
If the hon. Gentleman will look at the Paper he will see that I have an Amendment dealing with that very point.
§ Mr. NORMAN CRAIG
I did not know that the matter was proposed to be dealt with, and I think it is one that required some attention.
§ Mr. BARNES
Before I withdraw my Amendment I should like to know where we are. As I understand the Home Secretary, he is willing to accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Peterborough. So far as we understand that would definitely rule out flogging from Sub-section (1) and (2).
§ Mr. BARNES
I understand also that the Home Secretary is disposed to recast the Section altogether with a view to putting in the Act the offences and the penalties therefore, so as to get rid of the Amendment. I would also like to be clear as to whether "male" is to come out, because I feel strongly that we ought to 1873 deal with the women as well as the men guilty of this offence.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I shall be happy to consider an Amendment which will specify an appropriate punishment for the female.
§ Leave withheld.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
I thank both the Lord Advocate and the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge for the instruction which they have given relating to this matter. What does it all amount to? I have listened to this discussion on the question of flogging. It is quite clear from the observations of the Noble Lord the Member for Hitchin, that this punishment is only to be inflicted upon poor men, and therefore I want my Friends on these benches before they decide to withdraw the Amendment or mitigate their opposition to the more arduous provisions of the Clause to understand thoroughly what they are legislating for. We are not legislating for the punishment of poor men and poor men only. I understand that the lawyers have already decided that for some time flogging has been inflicted for certain offences when there was really no power to flog at all, and we have heard that both from the Lord Advocate and the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge.
§ Mr. RAWLINSON
I did not say that. The Lord Advocate said that the Government could not consent to accept the Amendment which abolishes flogging in those cases, which is what I want, and which is what the hon. Member wants.
§ Mr. J. WARD
The hon. Member said lie did not envy the feelings of the Deputy-Chairman for the London Sessions who quite recently ordered some men to be flogged under certain provisions of the law, which, according to the Lord Advocate, he really had no power to administer. It really amounts to this, that there is no law for poor men. Unless a man happens to be sufficiently wealthy to be able to employ competent legal assistants, such as the hon. and learned Gentlemen who have spoken upon the subject here to-day, the case would go by default against them, and under those circumstances, as I understand from the discussion, we are providing really for poor men and not for wealthy men who can be properly defended. Then with regard to the provisions in reference to the Act of 1824, in Sub-section (1) of 1874 Clause 6, unless the man could prove that he was not living upon the woman he would be convicted, and there is no doubt that it would amount to this, that the poor man prima facie is guilty.
§ 6.0 P.M
§ Mr. J. WARD
The Home Secretary has a most unfortunate method of describing the Bill and explaining its provisions, for I understood him to say—[HON. MEMBERS: "You are wrong."] I am not taking the statement of hon. Members. I have listened to the discussion and I am taking into consideration the statement made by the Home Secretary himself. The Home Secretary, in answering observations on these benches, said that the man would have to prove that he had some means of living without living upon the prostitution of the woman. Here is the position: Could you possibly convict a man who had a million pounds at his disposal of living upon the earnings of prostitution? Of course you could do nothing of the kind. How could it be possible for a poor woman to be keeping a man who had millions of money? The thing is utterly absurd, and what we are legislating for, and what we are providing punishment for, is a special set of criminals who happen to be poor men, while there is absolutely no possible chance of your securing conviction against wealthy persons employed in this trade under conditions put before us by this Bill. You are, in my opinion, dealing only with poor criminals, and we, at least on these benches, should be particularly careful as to the amount of punishment we inflict upon those who would be largely convicted because of their poverty.
§ Mr. NEWTON
The hon. Member who has just sat down has confessed to having a very vague notion of what sort of decision we are coming to. I agree that I, too, have a very hazy notion as to where we really stand, though I have listened to the whole of the Debate. The only point I am clear upon is that on which the hon. Member is not clear, and it is a point on which I think he is entirely wrong. The whole argument upon it was clear, and I was able to follow it. But I may say, and I think other Members are in the same position, that I do not at the present moment know what decision we are about to come to. Let me remind the House that the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State for Home Affairs holds one 1875 view and the Lord Advocate holds another view. I understand that the Lord Advocate's eloquence has converted the Home Secretary, and I dare say that if the Home Secretary made another speech, his eloquence would convert the Lord Advocate. The position is really one of great difficulty. The Noble Lord sitting near me (Viscount Helmsley) says they are both wrong. Very likely that may be so. What we are doing is to provide in an Act of Parliament punishment for a certain offence. At this moment the Law Officers of the Crown do not know what the meaning of the Act of Parliament is going to be, and when it comes to be put into force there may be the very greatest misunderstanding as to what the House really means. As a simple and practical solution of our proceedings, I ask the Secretary of State for Home Affairs to tell us in plain language, and without reading from Sections or Amendments, what offence it is he is desirous of punishing, what punishment he desires to inflict, and to whom the infliction of those penalties is to be entrusted.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I stated that I supposed the House agrees to accept the Amendment which comes later on the Paper in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Mr. George Greenwood). The effect of the acceptance of that Amendment will be to remove all doubt. [An HON. MEMBER: "No."] That is, where a person, convicted for the second time under the Act of 1898, becomes an incorrigible rogue, he will be declared not to be an incorrigible rogue, and if he does not become an incorrigible rogue, he cannot be flogged. So the effect of accepting that Amendment will be to remove, so far as Sub-sections (1) and (2) go, flogging as a punishment for that class of offence. We propose to insert in Sub-section (3) words which will specifically name the punishment for this offence.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I think the House ought to understand exactly what it is we are to divide upon. The Amendment moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Black-friars (Mr. Barnes) is to leave out Sub-sections (1) and (2), and the alternative proposal he puts before the House differs from the Home Secretary's proposal in two ways: In the first place, it avoids altogether all legislation by reference, which everybody agrees is good; in the second place, it explicitly excludes flogging from punish- 1876 ment for this offence. The Home Secretary has met that by promising to put in at the end of Sub-section (2) an Amendment which is on the Paper in the name of the hon. Member for Peterborough, and which will expressly exclude flogging as a punishment for these offences just as securely as does the Amendment of the hon. Member for Blackfriars Division. There is a third point in which there is a very material difference between the proposal of my hon. Friend for the Blackfriars Division and the proposal of the Government.
I do not allude to the fact that there is an "and" where there should be an "or," but, in addition to that modification, if we accept the Amendment, we shall be putting the onus of proof on the police, and if we accept the proposal of the Government, the proof of innocence would be on the man himself. As my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke (Mr. John Ward) says, to put the onus of proof upon the man who is charged by the police makes it almost impossible for the poor man to escape. He cannot employ lawyers; he cannot understand the law even as we understand it now after some hours of discussion; and he is unable to put up the best possible defence. In cases such as those where you are increasing the penalty, and changing the law, and where you admit that people have been actually flogged unjustly in the past fortnight—[An HON. MEMBER: "Not unjustly, illegally."]—where people have been illegally flogged, where you have such a position as that, it is monstrously unfair to put the onus of proof upon the person charged. Let me remind the Lord Advocate of a case that came up the other day in Scotland. A Miss Jennie Brown was arrested by the police for soliciting, and she was brought before the magistrate. I cannot remember exactly what happened to her, but I think she was found guilty and discharged with a caution—she was convicted and discharged. After she was discharged, she went to a doctor and got a certificate that she was a virgo intacta, and could not possibly have been soliciting. Her whole life practically had been sworn away by two constables. One of these two constable was proved to have been guilty of forgery, and the other of extremely brutal bigamy.
On the evidence of persons like these, she had to go before the magistrates, and she is now absolutely unable to get a single penny piece of compensation. 1877 Directly the police take up a case against a person like that you want to have the evidence manufactured to maintain the prosecution—I withdraw the words "evidence manufactured"—but you want to have a person brought in under a different class of crime, and here it is the crime of associating with prostitutes, or something of that sort, and it will be an extremely difficult thing for poor persons to prove that it is incorrect. I submit that it is most undesirable that we should accept of the alternatives before us that alternative which leaves the onus of proof upon the uneducated, unskilled person who may be run in. Just as in the case of all other crimes whether by rich or poor, the onus of proof should be as the hon. Member for Blackfriars Division proposes, upon the prosecution by the Crown or by the police. I should like before we vote on this to be quite clear on another point. The Home Secretary has very wisely said that he will accept the Amendment of the hon. Member for Peterborough. If that be carried, can the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether it will definitely make it impossible to have those sentences carried out as they have recently been carried out in London?
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I do think that on this question of flogging we have to look at it, not simply from the point of view of expediency, even if it is likely to reduce crime, which I do not think likely at all, and which is not the experience of the past; but, if it were likely to reduce crime, I think there is something more important than that. I cannot bring myself to believe that in any case the infliction of torture upon a fellow-creature can be for the good of the community in the long run. Hon. Members may never have seen anybody flogged. I have. It is torture; and I do resent the idea that we who have perhaps been birched at the public schools should take that experience as at all comparable to the experience of those who have undergone this fearful punishment of flogging, where blood is drawn at every stroke. I resent the idea of comparing that sort of punishment with the playful punishment, some of us have had to suffer when at school. There is no possible comparison between the two things.
You have in this Bill this kind of torture which is to be employed for a crime which, it may be, is a terrible crime, but I do say that, whatever the proof may be, it is still 1878 wrong for English gentlemen to pass a law inflicting torture upon anybody at all. If torture be right, why then, some more satisfactory form of torture might be discovered—more satisfactory from the point of view of stamping out crime. On this Amendment we have merely to choose between two alternatives, that of the Member for the Blackfriars Division and that of the Government. We are merely deciding whether the onus of proof shall be on the shoulders of the person charged, the person in the dock, or on the shoulders of the prosecution. I must say, as one who desires not to see the innocent convicted and sentenced to the lash, that the police should prove their case, just as they have to prove every other case brought before the Court. I should make them prove the charge. Even then you do not secure that the innocent will not be subjected to this torture, but at any rate it will necessitate the prosecutors proving their case against a helpless person.
§ Mr. LYNCH
The Debate has run through the whole afternoon on the question of flogging, and then it is discovered that the question of flogging is not that which is involved in the Amendment. Before sitting down, I should like to ask the Home Secretary whether the rectification he proposes to make in a future. Amendment will render the position perfectly clear, not by reference to other Statutes, but in the terms of the Amendment presented before us, and whether proper notice will be given of it, so that we can study it and know exactly the position in which we find ourselves. We have had the Home Secretary proposing one view of the law, and we have had the Lord Advocate giving us on his authority directly the opposite view, and we find the confusion resolved only by the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge University (Mr. Rawlinson). I hope that in the future consideration of this Bill that we will have in the clearest terms before us the actual words of the Amendment, so that we may know the exact position with which we have to deal.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. GEORGE GREENWOOD
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the word "or" ["or is proved to have"] and to insert instead thereof the word "and."
"Where a male person is proved to live with and be in the habitual company of a prostitute, and has no visible means of subsistence."
There the onus is cast upon him of proving that he is not living on the earnings of prostitution. In this Bill you are going to omit the words "and has no visible means of subsistence," and you substitute for the conjunctive "and" the disjunctive "or." Thus where a male person is proved to have been habitually in the company of a prostitute, unless he satisfies the Court ho is not living on her, he is guilty of an offence. Is that the intention? I am not going to fight against it, but it may lead to injustice and infringement of personal liberty.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I beg to second the Amendment. It seems to me if "or" is left in we are, in effect, not only creating a new crime, but putting the onus of proof upon the person charged. In Sub-section (3) it is provided—
"Where a male person is proved to live with and to be habitually in the company of a prostitute, and has no visible means of subsistence."
If this word is put in the Clause will read: "Where a male person is proved to live with or to be habitually in the company of a prostitute, or is proved to have exercised control, direction, or influence over …" All these alternatives give a wider net to the police to get people in, instead of smaller powers. If "and" is inserted we have some sort of check. I do feel that all this legislation by reference may run into unknown perils. A person living with a prostitute is not necessarily a very heavy criminal; not necessarily one of those foul creatures, procurers, or anything of that sort. To prove that you were not in the habitual company of a prostitute is almost a thing that could not possibly be done by many people who might be charged with this offence, and against whom the police or authorities might have some spite. I do not think you are likely to do much good towards stopping this traffic by putting heavier penalties on the people, or by widely increasing the number of people whom you deem to be committing crime. It seems to me if you want to stop this traffic you had better try and improve the morals of the people, instead of giving the police in- 1880 creased power over their bodies. This Amendment is absolutely vital unless the police are to be given absolute power over the women and all the people in that strata of society. Miss Josephine Butler and the late Mr. Stead, have shown that by increasing the power of the police over this traffic, by establishing police de mcrœurs, you are not doing anything to reduce prostitution or any of those vices of our great cities. You are merely increasing the power of the police and their power to extract blackmail and to subordinate this horrible traffic to the will of the police. If you want to avoid Tammany Hall and the condition of New York and to prevent conditions such as that growing up, the only way to do so is to stop giving the police this abnormal power over the women and the men in this trade, and to rely upon a better state of society, upon better wages for the women, and upon better chances of leading a decent life. Pin your faith to that rather than even to the British police.
§ Mr. McKENNA
The gist of my hon. Friend's objection amounts to this, that he dislikes that any person should be presumed to be living upon the earnings of a prostitute unless he is proved to have exercised control, direction or influence over the movements of a prostitute.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I mean the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme (Mr. Wedgwood). He objects even in such a case as that, that the presumption should be that any such person is living on the earnings of prostitution
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
The right hon. Gentleman has absolutely misunderstood me. That is not the meaning of the Amendment.
§ Mr. McKENNA
He has entirely misunderstood the purpose; he is so anxious to oppose it without understanding. If he had taken the trouble to listen he would have heard. My hon. Friend who moved the Amendment asked whether it was intended that the first part of Sub-section (3) should stand with the word "or."
§ Mr. McKENNA
We did deliberately intend that because we look on the words 1881 "and has no visible means of subsistence" as being of no value at all.
§ Mr. G. GREENWOOD
I do not want you to leave those words in. I only wanted to know if a man is simply proved to have been in the habitual company of a prostitute, whether it is right at once to throw the onus on him to show that he is not living upon her.
§ Mr. McKENNA
It is so easy for a person who is not living on the earnings of a prostitute to do so in a case in which, in fact, he was not living on the earnings of prostitution. Therefore I do not think that the onus in his case is a very severe one. With this explanation, I hope the hon. Member will not press the Amendment.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD rose—
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
I beg to move, in Sub-section (1), to leave out the words "direction or influence."
I maintain that these words are far too vague to be left in when you are creating such an offence as this, putting the onus of proof on the person charged, and punishing the offence in such a serious manner. Surely it is sufficient to say, "control over the movements of a prostitute," without leaving in such vague words as "direction or influence." I shall not detain the House, as I am quite aware that the Home Secretary is a little short with 1he opposition to this Bill. From the point of view of making the Act as clear as possible, and of making conviction or justice as certain as possible, such vague words as these ought to be avoided.
§ Mr. G. GREENWOOD
I beg to second the Amendment.
This is a highly penal Statute, and the words are certainly very vague. It would not allow a single criminal to escape if you kept to the well-defined word "control" and left out the words "direction or influence." You might have cases on the border line where injustice would be done. It is often impossible to say whether or not influence has been exercised.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I hope the House will not accept this Amendment. I do not believe that either of my hon. Friends has taken in the whole meaning of this Clause. It is not merely a question of directing or 1882 influencing the movements of a prostitute, but the direction or influence must be proved to be of such a nature as to aid, abet, or compel her prostitution. I really think that influencing so as to compel the woman's prostitution ought to be an offence, and to raise the presumption that such a person is getting something out of it. That is all we ask.
§ Sir WILLIAM BYLES
The only effect of the Home Secretary's speech is to show that these words are absolutely unnecessary, because to control the movements of a prostitute in such a manner as to aid, abet, or compel her prostitution, is exactly the same as to influence her.
§ Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill," put, and agreed to.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I beg to move, in Subsection (1), after the word "prostitution" ["compelling her prostitution"], to insert the words, "with any other person."
I understand that the Home Secretary is willing to accept this Amendment, and therefore I move it formally.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
(who had given notice of an Amendment to leave out Subsection (2): On the understanding that the Home Secretary is to make an addition. I do not move the Amendment standing in my name.
§ Mr. G. GREENWOOD
I beg to move, in Sub-section (2), after the word "months," to insert the words, "but such person shall not be liable to be dealt with as an incorrigible rogue within the meaning of the Vagrancy Act, 1824." I understand that this Amendment will be accepted.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. HUGH LAW
I beg to move, after Sub-section (2), to insert the words,
"(3) The Vagrancy Act, 1898, as amended by this Section, shall extend to Ireland with this modification, that for the words, 'be deemed a rogue and vagabond within the meaning of the Vagrancy Act, 1824, and be liable to be dealt with accordingly' there shall be substituted the words, 'be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months with hard labour.'"
1883 This Amendment is necessary if Ireland is to be dealt with under this particular Clause. The Bill as a whole extends to Ireland, but Clause 6 (1) is drawn with reference to the Vagrancy Act, 1898, and the Immoral Traffic (Scotland) Act, 1902. Neither of those Acts extends to Ireland. The matter is of some little importance, for this reason: When the Act of 1898 was passed, both Scotland and Ireland were excluded from its operation. They very quickly found in Scotland that the very undesirable persons dealt with under this Clause came in increased numbers north of the Tweed, and Scotland was consequently compelled to obtain an Act of its own—the Immoral Traffic (Scotland) Act, 1902. It is in order to avoid a repetition of that state of things and to bring the law in Ireland into harmony in this matter that I move the Amendment.
§ Question, "That those words be there inserted," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. MOLTENO
I beg to move, to leave out Sub-section (3).
This Amendment raises the whole question of flogging. I was very much surprised when this matter was first discussed to hear it suggested that flogging was not torture. Our objection to this punishment is that it is a resort once more to flogging. We might as well have the thumbscrew and the rack. The cat is every bit as much an instrument of torture. We want to have the question thoroughly discussed whether we are to return to this antiquated and cruel form of punishment. If Members refer to any dictionary they will find that flogging clearly comes under the definition of torture. Webster's Dictionary says that it is severe pain inflicted judicially.
§ Mr. MOLTENO
It says:—Extreme pain or anguish of body or mind; pangs, agony, torment; especially severe pain inflicted judicially, either as a punishment for crime or for extracting confessions from an accused person.1884 Latham's Dictionary defines torture as:—Torment judicially inflicted; pain, by which guilt is punished or confessions extorted.If we want other authority we have that of the Prime Minister himself, who, when this matter was fully discussed on Mr. Wharton's Bill laid it down perfectly clearly that it was torture. He described flogging as a treatment which involves moral humiliation and physical torture. Again, what did Sir Henry James, one of our greatest legal authorities, say? He said:—He had never given a vote in favour of flogging, and he hoped he never should. They might as well go back to the times of the thumbscrew and the boot as resort to flogging, for flogging was torture.These are perfectly clear, distinct, and definite opinions on this question, given by men whom we all know and respect. It is hardly necessary to ask for authority, because it is clear that punishment of this kind is really torture. But if anyone doubts it, take the description of what he had seen given by one who is no longer a Member of this House:—He had seen the lash applied, the man tied up and stripped in sight of his comrades; he had seen the body blacken and the skin break; he had heard the dull thud of the lash as it fell on the blood-soddened flesh; and he was glad of having the opportunity of making his voice heard against it to-day and trusted that nothing would induce the Government to retain under any conditions such a brutal punishment.
§ Mr. MOLTENO
That was inflicted in the Army. [An HON. MEMBER: "Who was the hon. Member?"] A Member who was at one time a soldier—the late Mr. Bradlaugh.
§ Mr. MOLTENO
One of the principal reasons why we object to this punishment is that it brutalises human beings. It is the effect, not so much on the wretched creature who is punished, as on the witnesses, and mankind generally. Men are compelled to witness this kind of torture. From that point of view I would like to read a protest from a very respected ex-Member of this House, Dr. Farquharson. In the course of his duty he had been compelled to witness this horrible punishment, and he gave his experience to the House. He said:—It has been my misfortune to witness many floggings when that form of punishment prevailed in the Army, and I am convinced that if hon. Members could I be taken to a barracks square to witness one adminis- 1885 nation of this punishment, we should hear nothing more of flogging in the Army or elsewhere And while I am opposed to public floggings, I am still more opposed to private ones. What could be more terrible than for a man to be led out on a cold winter morning to be hanged or flogged in the presence of the warders and gaoler, with no one even to whom he can display his bravado? The Bill requires that a doctor shall be present at the flogging. I remember witnessing one flogging. The criminal was duly tied up, and then there came the dreadful swish of the lash, the noise of which was partially drowned by the muffled roil of the drums, a device to prevent the possible screams of the unfortunate victim being heard. But I am bound to say that I never heard a single sound proceed from the man's lips. Terrible as was the punishment for him, I think it was still more terrible for me, on whom rested the responsibility of watching it. After twenty-five lashes had been administered the man's wrists were untied, and I had to decide whether any permanent danger would be done to his constitution if the flogging were continued. How could I or any medical man say at such a time what would be the ultimate effect of the shock to the system. I say it was an invidious and detestable duty to impose upon any man, and it is in order to save my medical brethren from having it placed upon them by this Bill that I oppose the further progress of this measure.
§ Lord N. CRICHTON-STUART
The hon. Gentleman mentions the torture and the cruelty inflicted upon the man; but what about the offence and the sufferings of the poor woman?
§ Mr. MOLTENO
We are all agreed as to the offence—that these are very detestable offences—and we are all wishful to put them down by every legitimate means in our power. I entirely support the Bill from that point of view, but I object to the illegitimate use of punishment which f consider is retrograde, cruel and violent. I think I have said enough to show that in the opinion of men whose opinions we value very highly this punishment is really torture. We have had the opportunity within comparatively recent times of knowing the opinions of these men, whom we are accustomed to rely upon upon questions of this kind. In 1885, when this question was very fully gone into, there was an almost unanimous consensus on the part of the authorities that this punishment should not be resorted to. I have quoted the names of some whom I refer to as authorities. In addition there is Sir Farrer Herschell, one of the ablest lawyers that ever lived, and one of the soundest Liberals we have ever had. There is Sir Edward Clarke, Sir Horace Davey, and Sir Thomas Chambers. Then I have quoted the Prime Minister himself. We have had Home Secretary after Home Secretary who has been against this form of punishment. No Home Secretary since the great reform of our Criminal Law until the present one has ventured to introduce a Flogging Bill. No one in authority has 1886 proposed this retrograde step. I have not heard any defence from any hon. Gentleman on this return to torture. I have heard no justification. I have seen no-statistics of the increase of crime, and I say that if any of these arguments are valid, we ought to hear of them before we return to this antiquated and retrograde form of punishment. There is another reason why I want to oppose this, and it is in the interests of Scotland. Scotland has always been very sensitive upon this question. For practically 100 years Scotland has allowed no law to apply to herself which involved flogging. In 1824, when the Vagrancy Act was introduced, Scotland, and I am glad to say Ireland, were exempted. Then again, when it was proposed to re-establish flogging for garrotting it was not allowed to apply to Scotland.
In 1862 a special Statute was passed that no one should be allowed to be flogged in Scotland. I have yet to learn from the Lord Advocate or the Secretary for Scotland that Scotland has been any worse, or worse than England, on account of that freedom from flogging. No suggestion of that kind has ever been made. I protest to-day against a return in Scotland to this, which I again call a cruel, a brutal, and an antiquated punishment. It is very extraordinary that so often, just as you find when you have a striking vindication of the rights of humanity, that you get a retrogade return to brutality and cruelty. I remember very well in this House when the last remnant of flogging was, in 1900, abolished in the Navy on the Motion of the hon. Gentleman the Member for Donegal. It was in the Debate on the Address. The hon. Gentleman received the congratulations of all parts of the House on his success in achieving that result. I remember the right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham (Mr. Joseph Chamberlain) congratulating the hon. Member for Donegal on his success, and avowing himself not only opposed to this system of flogging, but recounting something of what he had done in the Colonies in this connection. He pointed out that he had limited the amount of flogging there. It is very curious that this relic of barbarism, that a belief in this retrograde form of punishment, crops up in the most unexpected places. That position was taken by the Transvaal High Commissioner, who at that time promulgated a notice which provided the penalty of flogging for many 1887 offences. The right hon. Gentleman the Member for West Birmingham pointed out that he had not allowed it. He interposed at once and put his veto upon the proclamation, and refused to permit flogging. I am glad to say that flogging was abandoned in that case, and so far as I have heard without any detrimental results. What, however, is curious is that this very High Commissioner a little later when the Chinese were introduced into South Africa, had such a belief in flogging, that he again introduced it, and flogging was applied to the Chinese and the cruelty—
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The hon. Member is ranging over a very wide area. This Amendment proposes to omit Clause 6, Sub-section (3). That deals with flogging, it is true, for a second offence in certain cases. The hon. Member is only entitled now to show that it is undesirable that flogging should be applied in these particular cases. The House has already included flogging in regard to certain offences. The hon. Member cannot raise the whole question as to whether flogging is or is not desirable.
§ Mr. MOLTENO
May I just say that on this occasion I will be glad to know the position of the Home Secretary, because further down on the Paper there is an Amendment to this Section to omit, "in the case of a second or subsequent conviction." We recall what occurred on the occasion when first flogging was introduced. An undertaking was given by the Home Secretary that flogging should only apply to the second offence, and so we would have a guarantee that no mistake would be made, and no innocent man was likely to run the risk of being flogged, because flogging was only to be given for a second offence. Later, in replying to an hon. Member, and in face of his own assurance, the Home Secretary actually took off the Government Whips, and this when it came to the question of securing the guarantee which he himself had given!Now I ask, are we to believe him in the same way on this occasion? Are we to have any guarantee, and, if it is given, is that guarantee to be observed? Some of us view this whole matter with the very gravest concern. I regret that I am not able to go into the question of flogging; another opportunity may arise, but I shall always, at every stage, do my best to oppose a return to this brutal punishment.
§ Mr. J. M. HENDERSON
I beg to second the Amendment. There is no one in this House who more thoroughly detests the crime or offence which this Bill deals with, and which this Section deals with, than I do. I consider it a hateful and an abominable offence, and I will do all in my power to extend the punishment in every direction except in this particular direction, which I hold that no man or any State has any right to inflict. I am afraid from the tone of this Debate that there are a great many Members who have allowed their just and righteous indignation to step over the border line and become vengeance. The Home Secretary has said that this is not a torture, and that it is a deterrent. Then if it is a deterrent and people never come up for a second dose of it, why on earth not apply it to every offence? We do not want the burglar to come again. If this is not torture, and if it would not hurt him, then by all means apply it, and he will never come up for a second dose. If it is not torture, then, I ask, why not apply it to women? You do not apply it to women because you know it is torture. You would be ashamed of applying it to women.
Women, as has been said, have been free from this punishment for nearly a hundred years. Why? Because the feeling of the community is dead against inflicting this torture on women. I say that a man's nerves and body are just as delicate as a woman's, and you have no right. no State has any right, to inflict physical torture upon any man. We are told that bishops are in favour of this form of punishment. I can hardly believe it. Yet history does tell us that in the olden times torture was applied by the Church. One would have thought that after 1900 years of Christianity that even bishops would have seen some vision of the inwardness of the great humanity of Christianity. The question is whether this is torture or not. On the invitation of the Home Secretary I went to see the lash. It consists of nine thonged whip cords, thirty-three inches long. The Home Secretary tells me that it does not draw blood.
I am not a strong man, but I will undertake, if the Home Secretary will allow me, to practice on him, to draw blood in several places at the first blow. Of course if you brought the swish down lightly you would not hurt anybody; you would not twist a cord, but if you use the wrist as you must do, you are bound to cut the flesh. I care not what any constable says, I will 1889 undertake that every stroke of the thing will cut the flesh. If that is not torture, then I do not know what is torture. But I am more particularly concerned with this part of the Amendment which deals with the Immoral Traffic (Scotland) Act, in connection with which it is proposed to extend whipping and flogging to Scotland. I would like to know why the Scottish Members are going to spoil Scotland's record on this humane question. Why in this Immoral Traffic (Scotland) Act is not flogging mentioned. Those concerned had the model of the 1898 Act for England. Why did they not bring in flogging when they had a chance in 1902? I do not know what my fellow Members may say, but I know it was because the feeling of Scotland was against this punishment. We have got on very well in all those years, and why not do without it now? Why are we to have it now? We are told that those people with the punishment of the lash in front of them in England will go over the border to Scotland. That is not true. I do not believe anyone in Scotland wants this. We have never yet been told by anybody what is the effect of this punishment Some hon. Members opposite and some on this side are very keen on this punishment, and they suggest that when a man is subjected to ten or twelve lashes he is the same afterwards. But what becomes of him? He is sent to the infirmary. Why? To heal, and to allay the fever which any attack upon the nerves is bound to produce. One single blow of Anything like that would be bound to raise the temperature, as any medical man knows. How long does that man suffer? For four or five or six days. You have no right to inflict that punishment upon anyone, I do not care what his crime is. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] You have societies for the prevention of cruelties to animals, and you subsidise them. As a matter of fact—and this is my other argument—flogging has always failed to effect the object for which it is adopted. It never stopped insubordination in the Army, or insubordination in the Navy. There is a popular fallacy that it stopped garrotting. That is not true. What happened in 1862? In 1862 there was an epidemic of garrotting in the earlier part of the year and it came to a climax when an lion. Member of this House was garrotted in St. James's Park. The House, in a panic, set itself to pass the Garrotting Act of 1863, which was not passed until late in the summer of that year. What was the 1890 present Prime Minister's statement to the House when he was Home Secretary? It was that garrotting had ceased between August and September, 1862, twelve months before the Act was passed; and the Home Secretary who succeeded the Prime Minister at the Home Office said that he held the same views. As a matter of fact, it is panic legislation which always brings this kind of punishment. Men get angry, and justly angry, about these hideous offences. We have had the evidence of certain societies about it. I am quite willing to accept it. This is a hideous offence, and I will go as far as any man to punish it. But I say that in a civilised community or State no civilised man has a right to inflict torture. So far as torture is concerned, I appeal to my fellow Scotch Members let us, for mercy's sake, keep Scotland free from this degrading punishment. At all events, whatever the decision may be, it can never be said of me that I did not oppose to the best of my ability the passing for Scotland, or even for England, of this degrading punishment, and that I have not done my best to stop the imposition of what I honestly and sincerely believe to be a degrading punishment, which we have no right to inflict.
§ Mr. LEIF JONES
On a point of Order. May I ask, Mr. Speaker, if the discussion proceeds upon the lines taken by the Mover and Seconder of this Amendment, and the whole discussion is confined to flogging, will it be in order to move the Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. Greenwood), which is really confined to flogging? I think the discussion on flogging would be more appropriate on his Amendment than on an Amendment which proposes to leave out words that inflict other penalties as well as flogging. As a matter of fact, I should be opposed to flogging, but I am in favour of then Clause, and I do not want to vote against all the penalties.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It certainly would be more convenient to have taken the question of flogging by itself, but I am afraid I cannot prevent the discussion on flogging on this Amendment, because it gives the House the right to strike out the whole of Sub-section (3). This certainly will not prevent the Amendment of the hon. Member for Peterborough, although I do not think the House ought to go over the old ground covered by this Amendment.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I do not want to go over all the ground, but, of course, if I move the Amendment, I shall have to go into the question of flogging.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
Would it be in order on this Amendment to speak generally on the question of flogging, and then to take the Amendment of my lion. Friend without discussion?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It is in order to discuss the question of flogging under this Amendment. I cannot rule it out, and it is obviously in order to discuss it on the second Amendment, but it is very undesirable to discuss it a second time.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. BARNES
I beg to move, in Subsection (3), to leave out the words "an offence under the Vagrancy Act, 1898, or the Immoral Traffic (Scotland) Act, 1902," and to insert instead thereof the words "a second or subsequent offence against the First Section of this Clause."
The object of this Amendment is simply to get rid of the reference, and, if accepted, the Clause would read: "A person charged with a second or subsequent offence against the First Section of this Clause may, instead of being proceeded against in England as a rogue and a vagabond, or in Scotland summarily, be proceeded against on indictment."
§ Mr. BARNES
I gathered from the Home Secretary earlier that he was going to remodel Sub-sections (1) and (2). At all events, the main thing is to get rid of the reference, and if he will adopt the same course upon this Sub-section as in the earlier ones, I will be satisfied. If it is desirable to get rid of the reference in the first Sub-sections, it is quite as desirable to get rid of them here, so that we may know where we are.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I will see if in this case, and in the earlier case, it is possible 1892 to make the Amendment suggested, so as to avoid any reference to the Vagrancy Act of 1898. Of course, my hon. Friend must understand I am not giving any pledge. It is a drafting matter, and I will consult the proper authority. I hope, therefore, the hon. Member will not press his Amendment now.
§ Mr. BARNES
I will not press it, but there is an additional reason for this Amendment to those given already, because the Immoral Traffic (Scotland) Act and the 1898 Act again bring in the old barbarous Act of 1824, and if it were necessary to get rid of the 1824 Act before, I suggest that it is quite as necessary now.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Further Amendment made: In Sub-section (3), after the word "Scotland" ["may instead of being proceeded against in England as a rogue and vagabond, or in Scotland summarily"], insert the words "or Ireland."—[Sir Thomas Esmonde.]
§ Mr. G. GREENWOOD
I beg to move, in Sub-section (3), to leave out the words "and in the case of a second or subsequent conviction the Court may sentence the offender to be once privately whipped, and the number of strokes and the instrument with which they shall be inflicted shall be specified by the Court in the sentence."
I have already, with the indulgence of the House, dealt at some length with the question of flogging, and I do not want to go into it at anything like the same length again. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary seems to think that there has been a good deal of misrepresentation and misunderstanding of his position. His speech, however, was entirely upon the general question of flogging, and he seemed to think that we had accused him of introducing flogging for the first time into the Statute Book. When I spoke on a previous Amendment I was very careful to point out, there were two Statutes under which it was possible to inflict the punishment of flogging, namely, the Statute of Geo. IV., 1824, and the Statute of 1863. I think it is nothing short of a disgrace, considering its provisions, to allow the Act of 1824 to remain upon the Statute Book, because under that Act flogging may be administered by Quarter Sessions without trial by jury and without any restrictions as to the number of strokes or the nature of the instrument, and it might be inflicted upon a man convicted three times for vagrancy The other Act was passed in 1893 a period of panic in 1863 because one of the Members of this House had been garrotted in St. James's Park. Those are the only two. Our complaint against the Home Secretary is that he, for the first time, is extending this punishment. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I think there is an absolute consensus of opinion amongst hon. Members that he is extending this punishment. The Home Secretary has been speaking of us as if we had said something offensive, but surely it is no offence to him to say that I look upon men like Lord James, Lord Herschell, Lord Davy, and Sir Edward Clarke as greater authorities on this question than the Home Secretary. I do not think there is any thing offensive in that statement, because they are great authorities indeed, and any hon. Member who turns up the Debates will find that they give their opinion very clearly and without hesitation. When hon. Members dilate upon the enormity of the offence and say, "Why do you not think of these poor girls?" and so on, I repudiate entirely that style of argument. We do think of these poor girls, and we think of them quite as much as the hon. Member for Woolwich, who seems to have invented a new theory of punishment—
§ Mr. G. GREENWOOD
The question we have to consider is whether this is good for the community. It is a very easy thing to get up and dilate upon the enormity of the offence, and I am not so sure that that form of argument is not rather cheap. What we say is that those things are entirely irrelevant, and we base our opinion on the best authority when we say that we ought not to go back in regard to this torture punishment. I do not want to bother the House with the phraseology of what is torture and what is not. Everybody knows when it is said that torture was abolished in our criminal code it simply meant the infliction of physical pain, and to argue that the cat is not torture is absurd. It has been suggested that the cat is really a merciful instrument that does not draw blood. If that is so, I do not know why it is going to be a deterrent. If the Home Secretary has been so informed, then I think somebody has been "pulling his leg." Upon this subject I wrote to Mr. James Devon, the medical officer of His Majesty's prison in Glasgow, and he informs me that eye-witnesses say that the cat produces first weals and then 1894 produces blood, and I do not believe anybody who has any knowledge of this subject as an eye witness could deny that the cat does draw blood. The medical officer of the Glasgow prison has written a book which I hope the Home Secretary has read upon "The Criminal and the Community," and he has devoted a great deal of his life to this kind of investigation. His opinion is confirmed by many criminologists who have devoted their lives to this question. It is all very well for an hon. Member to say that he wishes to see "the hall mark of British muscles inflicted on these people." That is mere sentiment. It is the old system of vengeance and gratifying your sense of vengeance by inflicting punishments which are infinitely bad for the community, and which brutalise those who inflict the punishment as well as those who receive it. I will quote a sentence or two from Mr. Devon, the medical officer of the Glasgow prison, who in a letter in the Press, said:A strong desire to suppress the white slave traffic is quite consistent "with disapproval of the revival of Hogging. So far as I have seen, the main characteristics of the writers and speakers in support of Hogging are anger and ignorance. Nobody has attempted to discuss thoroughly the subject on which legislation is being passed. The excuse is that it is too filthy, and those who question the wisdom of legislators and their supporters are not met with reason but with abuse. Yet a decent man may object to another decent man being set apart for the Hogging of blackguards.A reasonable man might ask whether the white slave traffic is due to the fact that some people have not been flogged. He might ask that the causes of it should be sought and dealt with; but, if he did, lie would find little support from those who seem ignorant of the fact that flogging was at one lime the panacea for blackguardism and that it failed.Of late years there has been a considerable amount of penal legislation for sexual offences. It has not diminished these offences. It has not even punished the people who profit by them. It has increased the amounts taken as fines by the authorities, and has resulted in the imprisonment of miserable old women over seventy and slum-bred girls under twenty for keeping brothels. It has made the white slave more a white slave than ever.I only put this forward as coming from someone of authority, and I think he is a great authority on this subject. An hon. Member opposite said that I wished to send these men to a Borstal institution, but when he made that statement I really think he did his understanding less than justice. I merely instanced Borstal institutes in the course of the argument, showing that to revert to this old and barbarous punishment is opposed to the whole trend of modern legislation on this matter in regard to the subject of criminology. The Home Secretary told us that he was bringing in these flogging Clauses at the instigation of the police. Really, has it come to this, that those who are to carry the law 1895 into execution are to be our legislators? Something has been said about the bishops. I am not going to make abusive remarks about the prelates or those who wish to flog women; but I would like to say that all through our history the bishops have always been in favour of violence and force in the matter of the administration of the Criminal Law. When Sir Samuel Romilly was striving with all his force to reform the criminal code of this country his principal opponents were the bishops, and when he brought in a Bill to abolish capital punishment for stealing 5s. in a dwelling-house not one single bishop would support him; on the contrary, he was opposed by the whole bench.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
Is the hon. Member aware that a certain Free Church Presbyter said he did not think flogging was enough, and he would like to burn them.
§ Mr. G. GREENWOOD
Now you are displaying exactly what the feeling is. They do not merely want to flog, but they want to burn or bury them alive. The hon. Member for Woolwich has brought forward an entirely new theory with regard to punishment. He says punishment is voluntary, because, if you do not commit the offence, you do not get the punishment; but if you commit the offence knowing what the punishment is, you ask for it. [An HON. MEMBER: "And get it."] I never heard anything more lamentable than that. The hon. Member asks if we draw a comparison between petty larceny and these horrible and odious crimes; but that is not the point. Our argument is not so much in regard to the offence, but whether in regard to forms of torture, which we say are barbarous and discredited, it is right to place them upon the Statute Book. A reference has been made to the judges who have upheld Mr. Lawrie's decision. I know Mr. Lawrie very well, but may I point out that what was referred to in this instance was the birch, and not the cat. It is said by the Lord Advocate that that punishment was illegally inflicted. In the case of the judges, I know it will be a very unequal punishment, I have received a letter from one of the most experienced of our judges in the administration of the Criminal Law, expressing his agreement with my point of view. That judge will never give flogging nor will many others, and so you will not have equality. The really hardened bad man 1896 will feel the punishment less than the better man to whom a different punishment might have done some good. Furthermore, this punishment cannot stop here. Why on earth, if you are going to have flogging for the offence dealt with in this Bill should you not have flogging for raping a little child? Could anything be more abominable than that? [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] That offence was debated here and a very large majority decided not to inflict flogging for that offence. Once you commence the infliction of flogging you are bound to go on with it. If for this offence, why not for indecent assaults against women, and anything in which you say flogging will be a deterrent? [An HON. MEMBER: "Suffragettes."] I am sure we shall eventually come to a nice happy state of flogging all round in which our penal code will be a disgrace to this country. I speak strongly upon this question because I feel very strongly, and it will be a consolation to me at any rate to think that it has been my privilege to be allowed to raise my voice against this return to a discredited, barbarous and also a futile and stupid system.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
I beg to second the Amendment.
Having taken part for the greater portion of my life in the administration of justice in the Criminal Courts, I feel very strongly on this question of flogging. If there were any evidence adduced at all that flogging is a deterrent in any shape or form, then I think the Home Secretary would have made out some case. I quite agree, if flogging ought to be administered in any case at all, it ought to be administered in the case of a man who has been found guilty twice of this crime, but, as my hon. Friend has said, where are you going to stop? We know that Grand Juries all over the country have already moved resolutions in favour of administering flogging in cases against little girls, and I cannot conceive how, if you are going to administer flogging in this case you can refuse to administer it in what seems to me a far more serious case. Is there any evidence at all that either the man himself is deterred from committing a second crime, or that flogging will deter others from committing the same crime. Has experience shown that flogging deters others from committing the same crime? Let me give the House the last test that that has been applied to that. Some three or four years ago there were—I speak from 1897 memory, and I am not quite sure of the exact figures, but I think I am right—seventeen cases of robbery with violence brought up at the Assizes at Cardiff. The learned judge who came to try those cases had made up his mind before he came to the Assize town that in every case where a conviction was obtained he would administer flogging. I think he only tried fifteen cases, and he ordered punishment by flogging in all the cases in which convictions were returned before him. The other learned judge who, after finishing the civil list took the criminal list, tried the other cases, and, following the example of his brother judge, he also administered flogging in the two cases convictions were returned. We were told not only by one section, but by almost every section, and by all the local papers and all the London papers, that this severe treatment of people who had robbed with violence would have a deterrent effect, and that Cardiff, at all events, would no longer see cases of this crime in such number at the Assizes. What was the result? If flogging will deter others from committing the same crime, then for a very long number of years at all events this crime would have been unknown in the streets of Cardiff. At the very next Assizes, within half a year, something like a dozen cases of robbery with violence came up to be treated by the judge. Let me say that after having listened to a great number of those seventeen cases, and to a great number of the other cases that came up at the next Assizes, I became more convinced than ever how terrible it is to give to any man, however human he may be, as fortunately our judges all are, and however great his capacity may be in other respects, the power to inflict flogging as a punishment for any crime.
I well remember—it is a thing I shall never forget as long as I am alive—one case where flogging was administered on tin first occasion. There is nothing sentimental about it, and there is nothing very much out of the common, but I submit the facts show it is such a terrible thing to give any judge the power to inflict—a man's whole life may be ruined—that the House ought to think twice and thrice before, they give their consent. A man had been found guilty when he was a young man of eighteen or nineteen—and in this case I prosecuted myself, and the facts remain in my memory—of some trivial offence, petty larceny or 1898 something of that sort, and, if I remember rightly, he was sentenced to three months' imprisonment with hard labour. After he had done his punishment he joined the Army, and, having remained with it some years, he was discharged with good conduct. He settled down in Cardiff, and the police said he had for three or four years earned his living honestly by helping greeńgrocers and people of that sort, and nothing was ever known against him. The police gave him an excellent character since his discharge from the Army. The offence with which he was charged on this occasion was this. About ten or eleven o'clock at night he entered one of the public-houses in Cardiff with another man. When the public-house was about to be closed, they saw a man going out under the influence of drink with a bottle of beer in his tail-coat pocket. The police did not suggest the two men knew each other before they met in the public-house. They followed this man a distance of some hundred yards, and then tried to steal the beer. A scuffle ensued, and they succeeded, but in stealing the beer they inflicted some small injury upon the man. The injury was not at all serious, because the man was able to run after them and catch one of them before he had got very far. The prisoner was found guilty of robbery with violence, and he was ordered to be flogged, because, I suppose, though T do not know, it was the idea of the learned judge that all who were found guilty by the jury of robbery with violence should, without discrimination, be so punished to deter others from following in their footsteps. I submit with all the earnestness of which I am capable that man ought never to have been sentenced to be flogged. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] But the law says he can be flogged. He had committed an offence for which flogging was a punishment. I agree this Section does not touch that case, but here you give the judge, if a man is found guilty a second time, the power to inflict flogging, and I say it is more power than you ought to give to any man, however great his capacity may be.
These, sentences at Cardiff three or four years ago did not deter other people from committing the very same sort of crime within six months. But there is a much better test than an isolated test of that sort. Scotland for a hundred years nearly has been free from flogging. If flogging deters people in England and Wales from committing these crimes, then Scotland 1899 ought to be the happy hunting ground of all these people, and the sort, of crime mentioned in this Section ought to be far more prevalent in Scotland than it is here. I have yet to learn that is so. I believe Scotland will compare very favourably indeed with England or with Wales. Experience, I venture to say, shows this sort of punishment does not deter others from committing similar crime. Does it deter the same people from doing it? I remember very well another case, where a young man of twenty-one was, twenty or twenty-five years ago, ordered to be flogged by a judge who is now dead, and I myself have seen that man charged twice and three times since with similar offences. The Home Secretary said he had been making inquiries, and had been assured that only one man had been twice sentenced to be flogged. I agree that may be so, but that does not conclude the question. The real point is this. Do not the police know of dozens and scores of men who have been flogged once, and who have come up again charged with the commission of the same sort of crime? I know of cases, and so does every man who has practised in the criminal courts. The fact of the matter is that a judge, looking over the calendar and seeing that the prisoner has been sentenced, it may be ten years before, to be flogged, and, being humane, says to himself: "This deterrent punishment has been tried upon this man and has failed, and I am not going to order it again." I know within my own personal experience dozens of men who have been flogged, and who have come up charged with the commission of the same sort of crime again, and judges can give instances by the dozen, but they do not do it.
You will not be able to get equality of treatment in this matter. There are not more than two or three judges at present who will ever administer flogging, and I say that punishment which is so unequally meted out is a bad punishment in itself. It is a very serious matter. I feel very strongly about it, and I think anybody who has seen, as I have seen—I agree it is many years ago—the lash administered, will never forget it. I agree with the Home Secretary that flogging nowadays may be different from what it was twenty or twenty-five years ago. I do not know, however, to what extent it is less severe or cruel. What struck me, however, was its effect not on the victim but on the man who was administering the punishment. 1900 I saw a warder administering twelve, lashes with the cat. At first he shrank from administering it, but, after four or five lashes had been laid on the naked back, and blood was squirting from it, that warder, instead of shrinking from his task seemed to be taken with a blood lust, and could hardly stop himself from inflicting the punishment. A more brutalising thing never happened in my experience. This House has no right to brutalise men who have committed no crime against the law. It has no right to brutalise warders or policemen. If it were merely a question of making the punishment suit the crime, there are other crimes which are certainly more fit for this punishment. It is impossible in this humane, enlightened age to go back to those barbarous practices, and I hope this House will not go back on the fine record of this country, but will rather imitate the record of Scotland and do away with flogging altogether.
§ Mr. LEE
I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I feel very strongly on this question—quite as strongly as he does. I listened to the cases he stated of his own personal experience, but I fail to see in what way those cases related in the slightest degree to the particular matter with which we are dealing. I am not, I hope, a bloodthirsty individual anxious to see these horrors on which the hon. Gentleman dilated. I do not support this particular form of punishment as a vengeance. If I support it it is because I believe it will be a deterrent, and also because it is the only kind of punishment in the special circumstances of this particular class of crime which would be effective. You have to consider the special circumstances and psychology of the people you are dealing with. It is because the lesser penalties, penalties of imprisonment and fine, have proved absolutely useless as deterrents, that we feel bound to go further. Why have they proved useless? Because the trade in which these men are engaged is much too profitable for a mere term of imprisonment to be a deterrent. We are dealing with a trade which brings into a man who practises it a steady and large income, the amount of which only varies with the amount of skill and success of the individual as a procurer in the first place; secondly, with the freshness and attractiveness of his victim; and, thirdly, with the extent and completeness of the terrorism which he succeeds in establishing over her. The amount is very large, £200 at least in case of successfully procuring 1901 a good-looking girl, and the steady income from her earnings. Indeed, he is not content to live upon the earnings of one girl, and so a risk of two years' imprisonment seems nothing in comparison with the profits, and proves absolutely useless as a deterrent.
You are dealing with a class of professional specialists engaged in a cold, calculating, sordid business for the ruin and subsequent financial exploitation of human bodies and souls. The circumstances are entirely exceptional. These men at whom we strike in this provision constitute the very worst feature of commercialised vice. If you succeed in repressing them, you will relieve these unfortunate women from the most intolerable oppression to which they are now subjected. Something has been said about statistics and evidence. I have made it my business during the last twelve months, to make a careful study of this problem in London, under the guidance of and with the assistance of those who for years have been in close contact with it, and I tell the House, from my personal experience, that this particular class of criminal positively swarms in London at the present time owing to the almost entire inefficiency of the law as it now stands. I have night after night seen these people at work. I know as regards the West End their principal haunts, their hours, their habits, and the methods by which they organise this traffic and the way in which they keep their victims at work in the streets. If any hon. Member doubts me, I shall be glad to give him details privately or myself to conduct him at night to see where these things are going on. I do not wish to exaggerate this matter, but I can assure the House that these people are numbered not by hundreds but by thousands in London alone. A very large proportion of them, I am glad to say, are not Englishmen. I regret that some are, but if hon. Members could see not merely foreigners, not merely debased Englishmen, but dozens of negroes in the West End of London running white English girls on the streets they would see the people at whom we wish to get. The circumstances are absolutely exceptional, and it has been proved that the existing methods of punishment are powerless to act as a sufficient deterrent.
We have heard a good deal about torture, about the dull thud of the lash, about blood-sodden flesh. I do not want to revel in the horrors which the hon. Member has chosen to put before this House; 1902 but we have to deal with the class which produces a torture incomparably greater than that of which the hon. Member has spoken, a mental torture of the most atrocious description upon young women. It is our business to protect them from these individuals, and we should do so in the interests of our civilisation and of our finer feelings. I say that this particular class of crime is absolutely exceptional; it is not confined to London. The hon. Member for West Aberdeenshire and the hon. Member who spoke last, spoke as if Scotland was clear of this crime. They maybe assured that Scotland is by no means clear. Let them look at the statistics for the city of Glasgow, and they will find that the existing methods of punishment have proved absolutely insufficient to put down the evil which is rife in that city.
Mr. LLEWELYN WILLIAMS
My reference to Scotland was directed to flogging for garrotting. That punishment is not in existence in Scotland, and if flogging was a preventive of that crime, surely the crime ought to be more prevalent in Scotland than in England where flogging is applicable.
§ Mr. LEE
We are not dealing with garrotting. I know nothing about that; I do not say even that I ant in favour of flogging for garrotting. What I do say is that these are entirely exceptional circumstances; that this class of offender does exist in the larger cities of Scotland, and that this shows that the existing methods of punishment are not sufficiently deterrent. The only point we have to consider is that we must make the punishment a deterrent. No method which has not that effect is of any avail in dealing with a problem of this kind. It has been shown by facts adduced to-day that imprisonment as a punishment in connection with these offences he signally failed. It has failed because the trade is so profitable. I think this form of punishment will not fail. We have to study the peculiar psychology of the creatures who carry this trade on. They are first and foremost as a class, cowards. They are sleek, soft-living degenerates to whom this kind of punishment will especially appeal. Garrotters 1903 are a violent class of ruffians possessed of a certain amount of animal courage, and it is quite possible that flogging may drive such a man farther in that course, but here you are dealing with a creature whose psychology is entirely different. There is only one thing in the world that he fears in connection with his trade, and that is corporal punishment. Anybody who has seen these people and been in contact with them knows this; it is known not merely to the police, but to everybody engaged in rescue and preventive work, to people who have given the whole of their lives to a close study of this question. I prefer their evidence to that of hon. Members opposite who, while they profess friendship for this Bill, have opposed every provision in it, from start to finish. The hon. Member for Peterborough and the hon. Member for Newcastle-under-Lyme have opposed the Bill practically throughout.
§ Mr. LEE
What was their action upstairs in Committee? I say that this punishment must be supported as a deterrent. My belief is that if this Clause is carried it will be effective in driving out of this country a vast, lot of the ruffians engaged in this trade. With their departure no one supposes for a moment that prostitution or immorality will cease. But at any rate those abominable cruelties with which the trade is at present carried on will be largely if not entirely removed.
§ Sir W. BYLES
I hope I am the first to recognise the earnestness of the hon. Member for Fareham who has just addressed the House. I recognise his great desire to abate this very serious social evil. I only resent one observation which he made towards the end of his remarks, when he charged my hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough and myself—
§ 8.0 P.M.
§ Sir W. BYLES
When he charged my hon. Friend with opposing this Bill which he is so skilfully fathering. In anything we have done, we had desired as much as anyone the success of this measure. We feel just as much repugnance as the hon. Member to the terrible crimes and nauseous offences against society of which these men are guilty. We desire as earnestly as he does to get rid of the evil. 1904 Be they men or women, while we desire to punish them, we desire to deter them from their crimes, and, if possible, to reclaim them from their wickedness. I confess I am discouraged by the course of these Debates on flogging, and to think that this House, at this day, should be entertaining what appears to be an utterly retrograde idea as to the way in which society ought to treat those men who offend against its laws. The main reason for my intervention is to say a word in regard to something which fell from the Home Secretary this afternoon. He resented rather warmly the suggestion that he was reviving and increasing this method of corporal punishment. I felt that I was rather pointed at, because I confess I have made that suggestion more than once to him. I do think it, and I think that his explanation, if he will allow me to say so with all possible friendliness, was not adequate. He said certain statistics showed that during his regime, or, at any rate, during the last few years, the number of floggings had gone down, and he took credit for that. But he had nothing whatever to do with it, because those cases did not come before the Home Office.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I divided the floggings into two categories—those which are made upon the order of a Court, with which the Home Office has nothing to do, and those which are made in prisons on the order of the visiting justices, which can only be administered with the consent of the Home Secretary. It was with regard to the last class of floggings that I endeavoured to show, though it is through no merit of my own, that it does so happen that the number is smaller since I have been Home Secretary than in the case of previous Home Secretaries.
§ Sir W. BYLES
Three out of twenty-nine. The only thing that proves is that the visiting committees or the justices have imbibed the ideas we are endeavouring to uphold.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend is wrong. I understand that almost the invariable punishment in prisons for striking or for a brutal attack upon a warder is flogging.
§ Sir W. BYLES
There are fewer cases of this punishment, and the men who are administering the law do so with more leniency. Since the point has been referred to, I will trouble the House with a reminiscence. In my own Constituency, only the other day, I had an interview with a gentleman who was—he is not now—a visiting justice of Strangeways Prison. He told me he had once witnessed one of these floggings inside the prison, and he said it was impossible to conceive a more horrible and ghastly exhibition.
§ Sir W. BYLES
Not long since—only a year or two ago. He described to me how all the warders were drawn up around the victim to watch him.
§ Sir W. BYLES
Yes. He said that the face of the victim was concealed from all the warders, but his back, which was going to suffer, was exposed to them all; that the doctor alone was allowed to see the face, that he sat exactly opposite to it, and watched the effect of every lash upon the man's face that he might judge whether any more ought to be administered. That is not the whole story. He said, "What do you think the man was punished for?" I said I did not know. He then told me he was brought into the prison, and the first thing they did was to strip him or change his clothes, and he was then put into a separate room, as he was in delirium tremens, or just coming out of them. His nerves were all broken and shattered. I dare say many Members here have seen cases of delirium tremens, and they know it is a species of madness. The man was told to take off his boots. He took off one, and when he took off the second he threw it at the warder and seriously hurt him. I do not deny that it was gross insubordination, but I appeal to any hon. Gentlemen to say whether it was rational to treat a madman in this way!
§ Sir W. BYLES
It has nothing to do with this Bill. I am endeavouring to give an instance of flogging to the House which was suggested by the replies of the Home Secretary when I spoke of his responsibility, or his limited responsibility, in regard to the administration of these floggings. I want the House to consider that the main point of the discussion as far as we are concerned is not what is the nature of the offence, but what should be the method of punishment. We are with you entirely on the gravity of the offence; we are not with you on the way in which to treat it. My right hon. Friend frankly said that he believes in flogging as a punishment. I do not believe in it. I defy him to find any thoughtful modern student of criminology or penology who would commend this method of corporal punishment as a deterrent or as a civilised method of treating criminals. We have in this country, and in this City, the Romilly Society, the Penal Reform League, and the Howard Association, all including men who are thinking of these things and who are doing their very best to find out the best method of punishment. Not one of them would commend the methods which have been commended this evening. My hon. Friend the Member for Peterborough (Mr. George Greenwood), in a speech for which I thank him, quoted Dr. Devon, the medical officer of Glasgow Prison. I could wish nothing better for any colleague of mine in this House than that he should read the book which Dr. Devon has just issued, "The Criminal and the Community." If every hon. Member had read that book, these Debates would have taken a totally different line. Dr. Devon is a man who has been acquainted with every kind of criminal in Glasgow for many years. He has studied their history, their genesis, their temperament, and every possible way of redeeming them and of bringing them back and reclaiming them to society. He is the very last man to recommend the lash for these poor creatures. Dr. Douglas Morrison, the Rector of Marylebone, who is known to many Members of the House, and who was himself for many years prison chaplain, has written in the Press this very week a very strong and well-argued letter on this subject.
I defy the Home Office to produce a single serious student of criminology or anyone who has given any real attention to this subject who will recommend the course they are commending to the country. Bather should we try to under- 1907 stand how this crime originates, what it is that has placed diseased creatures in the midst of our community. Then, and then only, shall we able to get rid of them, by finding out the conditions which have produced them, and try to introduce them to something better, and reclaim them. I do not believe they are incorrigible rogues. Fancy calling boys of seventeen incorrigible, and then sending them to be flogged! I say you should try to reclaim them. The primary and main object of every punishment society inflicts upon offenders is their reclamation. I am sorry and sad about the two Divisions that we had the other day, and about the temper of this House in regard to this question. I feel it is going back upon our civilisation and upon all our modern and enlightened ideas on this subject. Certainly it is a degradation and a backward movement in regard to the Liberal traditions of which this side of the House is and ought to be proud.
I shall only occupy the time of the House for a very few minutes, in very sharp contradistinction to the hon. Member who has just sat down, who said, in his opening remarks, that he was only going to occupy a short time. This is my first effort in the House of Commons, and I know the House will bear with me, because I have only been here a very short time, and ant one of the newest Members. I had no intention of speaking at all to-night, but I am induced to do so by the strong disagreement I feel with the foundations of the argument as laid down by the Mover and Seconder of this Amendment. They challenged anyone who was in favour of sharp punishment for such offences to produce a concrete case or evidence to show that flogging is a deterrent or a corrective. It is a popular thing, in the course of these Debates, to use the Colonial analogy. I am a Canadian, and I am going to give the House a Colonial analogy, and if there is any other Canadian Member in this House he will bear me out. Some years ago, Canada being sparsely populated and distances being very great, school children having to travel long distances to school, women having to go home alone and unattended to their farms, the crime of assault upon women and criminal assault upon children was very prevalent. Flogging was introduced largely and sharply applied by the justices of Ontario and Quebec. With what result? Within two or three years those 1908 crimes decreased by some 70 per cent. throughout the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. Hon. Members challenge us to prove that this is a deterrent. T only wish a friend of mine, who was an official in the Central prison at Toronto, where nearly all the floggings were carried out, were here in order that the Mover and Seconder could have a few moments conversation with him on the same lines as I was privileged to have, not very long ago. His statement to my mind was very clear, and would provide ample proof of the justice of flogging or of brutal punishment for brutes. His statement was this: In my experience in the Central prison in Toronto I have never known a man who was flogged come back to this prison or any other prison throughout the province I of Ontario for a repetition of the punishment. These punishments in Ontario and Quebec are administered for purely brutal and absolutely animal offences. I will give one other example. During the war in South Africa there were a certain number of cases of assault upon Boer women by Kaffirs. In the column to which I was attached I came across three or four cases. Eventually a man was flogged. Never again did we have to deal with a similar offence. You may say in that case yon are dealing with a Kaffir. You are dealing with the brutal nature of the Kaffir, and here you are dealing with the brutal nature of a white man and you should deal with them in the same way. I grant you that it is a horrible punishment and it may partake to a certain extent of brutality, but you can only get at the brutal instincts of a brute through his skin and in the same way as you would treat any brute beast as a corrective for the wrong he is doing.
§ Mr. DUNCAN MILLAR
I am sure the House will congratulate the hon. and gallant Gentleman upon the very able contribution which he has made to our debate. I think he has illustrated very well that there is a complete answer to those hon. Members who have advocated the other view and who are strongly opposed to the penalty of flogging. They have charged those who differ from them with having been carried away by feelings of sentiment. The Debate has proved very clearly that those who have made that charge have also shown themselves to be carried away by feelings of sentiment for the criminal. That has been very strongly indicated in the Debate to-day. The House has already had a very full opportunity of 1909 discussing this whole question of principle, and I think it is time we should take account of the fact that this House has already, by an overwhelming majority, indicated its approval of the penalty of flogging in Clause 2 of this Bill. We are now seeking to apply the principle to another offence which is included in the Bill. My hon. Friend (Sir W. Byles) evidently thinks there is a point made with regard to the nature of the other offence, but I ask the House to consider whether in regard to this offence of living upon the earnings of prostitution, the case is not every bit as bad as the case of procuration. You cannot distinguish between the two eases. I believe the offence of living on the earnings of prostitution partakes very largely of the character of the offence of procuration. You will find in most cases that the men who flourish upon this offence are procurers, and they also exhibit the same feature in this respect, that they are forcing women to a life of shame, and that they are deriving pecuniary gain from this most detestable offence.
I quite grant the sincerity of Scotch Members who have indicated their view of this matter, but when we come to consider the feeling in Scotland, there has been a very strong feeling upon this subject of flogging expressed in many different quarters. I have received many representations from Scotland. There are many active Vigilance Associations and public bodies in Scotland who feel strongly on the subject, and the Corporation of Glasgow was responsible, along with other Corporations in Scotland, for the pressing forward of a Bill amending the Immoral Traffic (Scotland) Act. I am very glad to think that that Bill has practically been embodied in this measure in the Amendments which have been made. The Corporations of Scotland felt that this was an offence which required to be strictly dealt with. The hon. Gentleman (Sir W. Byles) has referred to a report of Dr. Devon one of the prison officials in Glasgow. I acknowledge the, authority of the gentleman in question, but I think it is a case where authorities differ, as has been proved by the excellent citation of authority by the Home Secretary on his side of the question, which I am sure impressed the House very much. In Glasgow there are other public officials who have gone, very fully into this question. Mr. Motion, Clerk to the Glasgow Parish Council, in a memorandum which he has issued draws attention to the number of 1910 offences of this character which occur. He says:—Perhaps the worst offenders under the Immoral Traffic Act are foreigners. For our own reputation we should like to believe it so at all events. There is no doubt, however, that a large percentage of the persons convicted of procuration and living on the immoral earnings of women are Jews and foreigners. It is truly remarkable—the Chief Constable will bear me out in this—the enormous influence these foreigners exert for evil over women belonging to this country whose downfall they have accomplished. They can beat and bully and starve them and take every penny of their immoral earnings, and yet the poor deluded women can hardly be persuaded to leave them.
§ Mr. MILLAR
The Report does not deal with the question of flogging, although the official in question was in favour of it. I am replying to the challenge put forward that this offence did not exist in Scotland to the same degree, because the conditions are different. In Glasgow it exists to a very large extent. You will also find that in other large centres. The conditions are certainly not the same throughout Scotland as they are in a great town like London, and naturally you expect to find it flourishing in even a greater degree there. I should like to emphasise very strongly this view that there are many in Scotland who are looking to see this Bill strengthened in the direction proposed, who will accept the penalty of flogging as being the proper penalty; and that there is a very strong feeling in Scotland behind us who support that view in desiring to have the law amended.
I should not have intervened were it not that I ought to inform the Government that this morning I received an official letter from the Liberal Association of the Division which I represent saying that they hoped this Bill will become law, and that it will not be whittled away in any respect. I mention that because I hope the Government will stick to their guns and will not accept the Amendment. I think all of us who wish to do away with this ought to brush aside all the arguments which we have been healing this afternoon as regards this punishment. We have had all sorts of arguments used in connection with flogging in the Army. There is not a man in this House who would wish to see flogging in the Army restored, but we all wish to see this immoral trade stopped. With all my heart I hope the Government will stick to their guns and will not accept this Amendment.
§ Mr. M'CURDY
I should like to state why I propose to support the Clause as it 1911 stands and to vote against the Amendment, although I think I might very well on some more suitable occasion have been moved by the very powerful arguments addressed to us by the Mover and Seconder with regard to the abolition of flogging in our penal system. We must consider what is the occasion upon which we are asked to vote for this Amendment. We are not here to-day upon a Hill dealing in general with the reform of the penal system. We are here with a special measure introduced to deal with a special evil, and I think the House is very much indebted to the lion. Member for Fareham (Mr. Lee) not only for the painful and arduous researches he has undertaken into this plague of our great cities, but also for his informing the House of the result of his researches. I think it is a regrettable thing when the House of Commons is dealing with a social evil of this magnitude and virulence that only one hon. Member out of some score that rise in the course of the afternoon even trouble to refer to the subject-matter of the Bill at all. We on this side of the House make it our boast, as I am sure hon. Members on all sides justly make it their boast, that we are not influenced by social considerations in the action we take in the House of Commons, and yet I cannot help thinking that there is a terrible contrast between the attitude of hon. Members wheń brought face to face with some sudden calamity that affects a few scores or a few hundreds of their own class and the attitude they take up in the face of a calamity which affects thousands of the children of classes not directly represented in this House.
The hon. Member for Fareham told us that we have in London alone thousands of men and women making a livelihood by selling into disease, death, and damnation the bodies and souls of girls belonging to the poor of our community. That seems to leave the reformers absolutely unruffled. Why? Because they have not inquired into the facts, and they do not recognise the enormity of the evil with which we have to deal. I ask the House to compare the indignation which is expressed on these benches in connection with the evils of the white slave traffic with the excitement in this House and the steps that are taken, with the unanimous desire of all Members, when two hundred or three hundred members of the wealthy class are drowned in such a disaster as befell the "Titanic." [An HON. MEMBER: "There is no comparison."] An inquiry 1912 is instituted by the Government, and the best experts are employed, to investigate the matter for weeks with a view of obtaining information as to any possible security to prevent the repetition of such a disaster at whatever cost. No one can suggest that in dealing with the evil with which this Bill proposes to deal we have shown the same zeal or enthusiasm as was shown in connection with the "Titanic" disaster. We are not here for the purpose of reforming the penal code. We are here for the purpose of dealing with a very appalling and a very pressing evil. We have discovered that the poor creatures this Bill is intended to reach are numbered not by tens or hundreds, but by thousands in this Metropolis.
What does the Government propose to do? It proposes to apply to the offenders the remedies which are found in our penal code at the present time. What is suggested by the Amendment? It is that instead of applying such remedies as we have at hand we should, forsooth, turn aside and start to consider the penal code and the elimination from that code of flogging for criminal offences. I believe that on the proper occasion, if a Bill should be brought forward for the abolition of flogging, it is quite possible I should vote for that Bill. But I am sure of this, if there was one exception for which I should propose an Amendment on that particular Bill, it would be the particular offence with which the Bill now before the House deals. I should still allow that offence to remain the subject of the old Draconian method. Really and truly it is merely drawing a red-herring across the trail to propose that we should first deal with the penal code. This Bill is brought in to deal with a social evil, and it merely asks that the utmost rigour of law should be applied to offences in regard to which every right-thinking man will agree the greatest rigour of law should be applied. I shall support the Clause in its original form and vote against the Amendment, not on account of any views I hold on the subject of flogging as a deterrent or preventive of crime, but because so long as flogging remains in the penal code of this country for any purpose whatever it should be ruthlessly applied by this House to the extermination of the evil at which this Bill is aimed.
§ Mr. HUME-WILLIAMS
I do hope the Government will remain firm in their intention on the question now before the House. The only complaint I have to 1913 make against this Clause is that it does not seem to me sufficiently strong for the purpose for which it is intended. Just consider how much is to be gone through before it can become operative. First of all, the House has just accepted an Amendment which provides that a man shall not be an incorrigible rogue under the Vagrancy Act of 1898. That removes the power of flogging under that Statute. When you come to put Sub-section (3) in operation, what has to happen? You have to be satisfied that the case is sufficiently serious not to be dealt with under the Act of 1898, but made the subject of indictment and prosecution before, I presume, either a Recorder or one of His Majesty's judges. You have to present an indictment, and to get sufficient proof to secure a conviction, and when that is done, power is given to the Court to sentence the offender to imprisonment with or without hard labour, for a term not exceeding two years. Up till then the power to administer the whip does not become operative. The man undergoes his term of imprisonment, comes cut of prison, and begins again. It is only when he has been convicted again, when it is proved to the satisfaction of the Court that he has undergone a term of imprisonment for a previous offence, and that he has returned to his former beastly practices, that the judge has power, in his discretion, to give him the whip. Surely if you have done anything wrong in this Clause, it is to surround the judge with too many safeguards. I confess I do not see myself if the offence has been committed, subject to such surroundings of brutality, that it is a fit case for the administration of the law, that he should not have a flogging before his imprisonment instead of afterwards. We have heard a great deal about the effect of the lash. I have not had the privilege which some hon. Members have enjoyed of seeing it administered. From the speech of one hon. Member opposite it appeared that a practical experiment is going to be tried. I think he said that the Home Secretary would try it on another person. I hope that no attempt will be made to brutalise the House by asking us to be present at the operation. I dare say when the experiment is over we shall have what the House is always glad to see the result of personal experience.
But seriously nobody likes the use of a power of this kind. It does not need the eloquent speeches of hon. Members opposite to point out that this is a brutalising process. But a man may have attained 1914 such a condition of brutality that you cannot brutalise him any more. On the contrary the only hope of eliminating the brutality is practically by flogging it out of him. It is the only thing he can ever understand, and the only thing which will prevent him repeating the offence for which he has been flogged. Exceptional cases need exceptional laws. Exceptional offences require exceptional remedies. This is altogether an exceptional case. The condition of things revealed shocks not only the conscience of this House, but the conscience of the country and it has got to be stopped. The ordinary means of the law are lamentably insufficient. We must have the courage of our convictions. If you believe that it is going to put a stop to this evil and that it is the only means at our disposal we must exercise it. No one likes the process, but in a case of this kind every expert opinion in the country has arrived at the opinion that this is likely to be effective; that it is the only thing we can do, and that it must be done, however much we all regret it. I hope that it will be done effectively. I hope that this Clause instead of being weakened by exceptional Amendments of this kind will be strengthened. If so, we shall have done something towards stopping a horrible evil.
§ Mr. MUNRO
I desire to support the Bill as it stands. A great deal has been said about Scotland in this Debate, and I feel bound to dissociate myself most respectfully from certain of my colleagues who have spoken in support of this Amendment. It has been said that we have not had flogging in Scotland under our system for a number of years, but I think I am right in saying that there are few criminal authorities in Scotland, who have not urged that the law which we desire to amend has been quite ineffective in Scotland to stop the traffic which we desire to stop, and that that is so because of the ineffective punishment. Many of the criminal authorities in Scotland not only entertain that view, but also entertain the view that the punishment of flogging will accomplish that end which hitherto it has been impossible to achieve. If you are going to have flogging as a punishment for this offence in England, I should not like to see Scotland without some remedy whereby criminals who would cross our border in that event might be sent back to the country from which they came. But from whatever point of view one regards it, speaking as a Scottish Member with some 1915 little knowledge of the administration of the Criminal Law, I do very heartily support the Bill as it stands. In dealing with this matter we have got to keep two considerations in mind. First, the dastardly character of the offence with which we are dealing. I very respectfully protest against the view that there is any cheapness or irrelevance—to use the words of an hon. Member on this side—when considering this matter in keeping very closely in mind the hideous character of the offence with which we are dealing. Not only have we to keep in mind the type of crime, but we have also to keep in mind the type of criminal with which we are dealing. That is the type of criminal who is deaf to all reason. A great deal has been said about moral suasion, but that type of criminal is deaf to all moral suasion and is blind to every consideration except that of selfish interest and gain, and he is insensible to any kind of punishment except this. We have got, in other words, to speak to this creature in language which he understands, and I think that this Bill does so, and does so in very proper terms.
There is another point of view which is almost irresistible in considering this Amendment and which has been referred to by the hon. Member for Lanarkshire. The House has seriously and deliberately determined under Clause 2 of this Bill that flogging is an appropriate punishment for certain offences under this Bill, and I say now that to pass this Amendment would be very like straining at a gnat having swallowed a camel. Having determined that that punishment is appropriate for offences under Clause 2, it follows logically that it is even more appropriate to the offence with which Section 6 deals. The House has said in dealing with Section 2 that a man who tries but fails to procure a woman for immoral purposes may at the discretion of the magistrate be whipped, and is the House at the same time to say that a man who has succeeded in his crime and is living upon the shame of a woman shall not be whipped if the magistrate so determines? The House has already said that a man whose sole offence may consist in a single act whereby he sells a woman to another may in certain circumstances be whipped, and shall the House then say that a man who, instead of selling a woman to another, elects to keep her as his own slave and live upon the proceeds of her trade upon the streets, shall not be flogged?
1916 Finally, as the House has most solemnly determined that a man who has ill-treated a woman, it may be in only one respect, namely, that he sold her to another man; may be whipped at the discretion of the judge, is the House at the same time to say that a man who does not sell a woman to another, but lives upon the proceeds of her earnings, and whose ill-treatment may and often does consist, in beating and bullying her on to the streets that he may live an otiose and idle life, shall not be whipped if the judge determines? It must follow logically from the determination at which this House arrived by a large majority on Clause 2 of the Bill that the case is still stronger for the judge having the same discretion under Clause 6. We stultify our Debate if, having determined solemnly that one offence may be punished in that way we then proceed to say that an offence which is much more heinous may be treated more lightly. For that reason I support the Clause as it stands.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
I am glad of the way the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down has spoken on this question. He, like other Scottish legal members of repute in the House, and the Lord Advocate, is strongly in favour of maintaining the Bill as it stands at present. I do not wish to make any attack upon what hon. Members have said, or have not said, in regard to this Amendment; and I am surely the last person in the world to suggest that any Member of this House does not naturally desire to do all he can to put a stop to this traffic. It is really absurd for Scottish Members who spoke before the hon. Member for Wick Burghs (Mr. Munro), to say that this crime hardly exists in Scotland. Everybody knows that it does, and that in Glasgow, as in all large towns, whether in Scotland, England, or Wales, you are bound to find this evil to a greater or a lesser degree. It is obvious that in the Metropolis the need is greater than probably in any provincial town. I would remind Scottish Members, especially the Member for Aberdeen, who take a different view in this matter from that which I and others hold, that there are Scottish girls brought to the Metropolis. Are Scottish girls never caught? Do they not become what is known as white slaves? I could tell the hon. Member for Aberdeen of a case of a Scottish girl in a town in his own 1917 constituency; but I am not going into the question. There is just as much need for stopping this evil in the case of girls who are brought from Scotland as there is to deal with it in places in Scotland itself.
It is all very well to talk about this evil, but really it is necessary to know something about it. During the last three or four weeks I have been trying to find out what is the extent of this evil, and what are its worst points. I have been to Scotland Yard and seen the officials there; I have visited ladies engaged in rescue work, and doing far better work than many in this country; and I have been endeavouring, wherever I could, to obtain reliable information and reliable statistics. I can assure hon. Members that by far the worst, part of the evil with which we are endeavouring to deal in this Clause is that which is connected with those brutes who, as the hon. Member has just pointed out, get these girls, not by mere honest means, if one can use the word "honest" in connection with such a question, not boldly or less reprehensively, or however you like to put it, not by what I might call forcible means, but by setting about getting into the confidence of the girls, beguiling them away from their homes, and by forcing them on to the streets until they are ashamed to return. If there is one case of that description in London at this moment there are several thousands.
These are the men we want to get at. Surely no hon. Member thinks that a creature of that sort should be dealt with as an ordinary prisoner. I am quite certain that flogging is not too brutal a punishment for an offence of that description. I dislike flogging as much as hon. Members opposite, and probably I have seen a good deal more of it than many Members of this House. I quite agree that it is a brutal punishment, that it is a torture, and that it draws blood, and it is for that very reason I want to see it applied. I do not say that with any vindictiveness, and while I agree that the idea of flogging is repulsive. I cannot honestly see in what other way you can possibly deal with this crime. Hon. Members opposite have got up one after the other, and were all so possessed with the idea that flogging is a brutal thing, that they altogether forgot the offence to which it is proposed that it should be applied, in order that we may stop the evil. It is not a question of whether flogging is a good thing or whether flogging is not a 1918 good thing, and it is well to observe a sense of proportion between the crime committed and the punishment inflicted. Not one of those hon. Members who say that flogging is a bad thing, have suggested anything better. [An HON. MEMBER: "Hand them over to probation officers."] Hand them over to probation officers was one of the suggestions made.
§ Mr. G. GREENWOOD
I said I thought two years' penal servitude with hard labour would have some effect.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
I do not think it would have any effect at all. We have punishment of that sort already, and I do not see that it has achieved any great effect. There are a good many of these persons, and I have found that the great majority of them are foreigners. I do not see why we should keep a foreigner here for two years in one of our own penal establishments, and I think he should be dealt with shortly, sharply, and effectively. What I want is that these brutes shall be driven out of the country, and to achieve that we should apply a punishment which will prevent them from desiring to come back again. I think this punishment of flogging will prove a deterrent. Look at the offence which is to be dealt with—taking a girl from her home after first getting her confidence, very likely promising to marry her, and gradually getting her into disgrace, and then driving her to a horrible fate on the streets. That is not a crime to be treated in the same way as pocket-picking. The hon. Member for Peterborough (Mr. G. Greenwood) and the hon. Member for Salford referred to these poor creatures.
§ Mr. G. GREENWOOD
My whole argument has always been the welfare of the community and society as a whole, and not with regard to the criminal.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
The hon. Member for Salford spoke of "ennobling" these people. Have you met those men? Fancy ennobling them! Certainly whatever may be done in the future, what we have to deal with is the existing evil, and I do not see how it can be dealt with in any other way than this of flogging. You call it brutal. Hon. Members talk of the shock to the system of the poor criminal. Why should his system not be shocked? What does the criminal do to the system of these wretched girls? Compare the two things. While I disagree with flogging, I think that it is necessary 1919 to apply a very strong and sharp remedy which will really affect them, and I do not see why hon. Members should oppose flogging for such a horrible offence as I have described. I do not think the Government can do anything else in this case. We are trying to get at the "recruiting sergeant" of the traffic.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
The hon. Member talks about low wages, but those who have studied the subject know that low wages have probably less to do with it than almost anything else.
MARQUESS of TULLIBARDINE
I quite agree, the high prices people pay for their bodies. We want to get at the people. [An HON. MEMBER: "Who pays for their bodies?"] We are talking about those who have forced them into this against their will. We are not talking of what I may call the willing members. The men who are living on those earnings are not really poor men. They are men who are making a good living out of this. As I say, we are only on the fringe of the question, but we want to begin. We all know as long as human nature is what it is we shall have this question in some form, but we ought to do something to safeguard the interests of those who are forced into this.
§ Mr. LYNCH
For a long time past all those who have spoken have been in favour of flogging. I desire to say a word or two on the other side. I suppose there is not a Member of this House who does not share in the horror against this trade and those who participate in it. So that we can dismiss at once any suggestion that those who favour the Amendment are sympathetic to the individuals concerned. I tried to understand with the utmost sympathy the point of view of those who are in favour of flogging. I can perfectly well understand that kind of indignation which animates persons, and sometimes carries them out of their proper judgment. We are here as legislators and not to give vent to indignation, but to deliberate as to the best and most effective means of putting an end to the traffic itself. During the whole course of this Debate there has been little said as to the 1920 cause and origin of this trade. That seems to me to be the scientific way of dealing with any malady. Find its causes and strike down at the very roots of those causes, so as to eliminate the malady itself and not merely to try and wipe away one particular symptom. One hon. Member cited an instance in his experience, and I venture to cite the case of Australia. I do not wish to do so from my own experience, but from those who had long years of testing this particular remedy for crime. There are very few books in this House of Commons dealing with flogging and criminology. There is one by Mr. Tallack, the secretary of the Howard Association, and therefore a man highly qualified to deal with the subject. It is called "Penological and Preventive Principles." Mr. Tallack shows himself, so far from being a sentimentalist, that while not in favour of flogging, he is in favour of the birch. He has carefully considered the question of flogging, and while he inveighs rather bitterly against the sentimentality of those who would coddle prisoners, Insets out the testimony of two missionaries of the Society of Friends, James Backhouse and George W. Walker, who visited Australia at the time flogging was most common. Their testimony was:—Most prisoners have a dread of flagellation till they have once suffered the punishment; after this the generality of them exhibit a decided deterioration of character.That testimony is so weighty that it seems to me to strike at the main force of the argument which we have heard from the other side, that it acted as a deterrent, because, if it acted as such, surely its force as a deterrent would be far stronger on those who had felt the lash.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
Is that the opinion of some one else he is quoting? Would the hon. Member quote his own opinion?
§ 9.0 P.M.
§ Mr. LYNCH
Mr. Tallack's own opinion was that he was strictly against flogging, while he was in favour of the birch. He mentions that explicitly, and he mentions equally explicitly that from his experience he had to decide against flogging, and the reasons were its wickedness and its brutality. Mr. Tallack also quotes the opinion of the author of "Six Years in Convict Prisons in England" in these words:—You will never find a man doing much good after being flogged.1921 On the other hand, he cites the case of the Governor of Tasmania, Sir William Dennison, whose testimony is given by Bishop Wilson. It appears that the Governor found that flogging was rampant. The nature of it in those days is now almost unimaginable. The mere recital of the details has horrified me to the very roots of my being, to think that men should have been able to indulge in such orgies of barbarism. Those were the days when flogging consisted sometimes of as many as a thousand lashes, and when a man was flogged until he fainted; was revived by cordials, and was flogged until he fainted again and again. That was the kind of flogging that was in existence in Tasmania when Sir William Dennison came there. We are told—He tried to deal with crime in a more humane and intelligent way.During his regime flogging was abolished. What is the testimony of Bishop Wilson?For some years previous to his departure no one had been subjected to the odious lash, and as a consequence crime rapidly diminished in what was then the Colony of Tasmania.I think the horror of the offence is one of the worst arguments, because instead of dealing with the offence it tends to warp our judgment even by the very indignation which is created within us. I should like to point out that the Home Secretary says that police reports show that this crime is rife in London. No doubt it is, but if they are able to furnish those reports they must know those criminals; they must know the whole circumstances of the case, and must know the manner in which they work. Why do they not bring up, at any rate, for punishment the criminals under the law as it now exists. I bring this point forward, not to make any charge against the police, but to show the weakness of the whole argument. These people elude the mesh of the law, not on account of the character of their crimes, but on account of their own cunning. If that difficulty is the real obstacle in the way of stamping out this offence, will it not be rather increased than diminished when you bring in a new element which makes the application of the law more uncertain, and to many judges will make it repugnant? In all cases where the object has been to suppress crime, men who have studied these subjects for many years have, without a single exception of any authority, come to the conclusion that the great means of preventing crime is not the severity of the punishment, but its certainty. I am inclined to think that by increasing the 1922 severity itself you will limit the certainty of the punishment, and so remove one of the great safeguards against crime.
I will not enter into the whole question, as the hour is getting late; but I should like to refer to one or two arguments put forward by the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. A. Lee). He says that the causes of this offence have not been searched into. That is the pith of the whole matter. We are dealing with an admitted evil, and with men who are admittedly horrible criminals, and yet during the whole of the discussion we have never once considered the causes of the crime itself. Prostitution is not brought about by the procurer. Prostitution is a function of poverty. It is brought about by the degraded conditions under which many of these young women in England are forced to live; and nothing of this sort and no brutality of punishment will strike at the real root of the evil. Many of these men are said to be foreigners. You have the power as the law at present stands to deport foreigners. Why do you not do it? If you catch him with certainty, if you know him as well as the police say they do, and apply with absolute certainty the law as it stands to-day, such a man will not come back for a year's imprisonment. The hon. Member also said that this was a very lucrative trade. The remedy there again is suggested by the very nature of the charge. If it is such a lucrative trade, strike at the offenders through that. If necessary, make the law such that the fine is not a mere five-pound note, but large enough to sweep away once and for all even the accumulation of years of profit. That is the proper scientific way to deal with crimes of this sort. Look into the whole matter carefully, and strike at the source. Eliminate that, and do not give vent to your passion or indignation by this retrograde movement of sheer barbarism.
§ Mr. McKENNA
We have discussed this question so frequently in the course of the proceedings on this Bill that I hope the House will think that the time is rapidly approaching when they might come to a decision on this Amendment. For my part, I rise only for the purpose of answering a question put to me very fairly by the hon. Member opposite (Mr. Lynch), a question which met with some applause on this side. I think there is a little misapprehension both as to the practice of the police and their difficulties and the nature of the Amendment now before the House. 1923 The hon. Member asks: If the police say that this practice is so rampant, if they know all about it, why do they not deal with these criminals now? The answer to that is that the defence invariably put forward is that these people have visible means of subsistence, and consequently the police, in spite of frequent attempts, have been unable to obtain convictions under the Act of 1898. The Amendment which we have carried to this Sub-section deprives the offenders of that defence, and will, I trust, enable the police to obtain convictions. If the Bill stood at that, and said no more, under the existing practice of the Courts, the police having obtained a conviction under Sub-section (1) of the Vagrancy Act, 1898, flogging could have been administered as a punishment. Under the existing law prior to this Bill, and following the practice of the Courts which did administer flogging for offences under the Vagrancy Act, 1898, this defence of having visible means of subsistence having been struck out of the Act of 1898, without this Amendment or any other alteration of the law, it would have been open to magistrates to inflict flogging for this offence. [An HON. MEMBER: "At Quarter Sessions?"] Yes. [An HON. MEMBER: "For a second offence? "] Certainly. That is all the Bill proposes. It follows from that that if the House accepts this Amendment it will not be doing what the hon. Member says I propose to do. To use the hon. Member's own words, it will not be standing in the way of "a revival of flogging"; it will not be standing in the way of "reverting to an old barbarous punishment"; it will not be preventing "a detestable return to a barbarous and futile system." On the contrary, so far from standing in the way of a return, it will strike out of the hands of magistrates a power which they now enjoy.
§ Mr. McKENNA
Whether they enjoy it or not, they exercise it. We have already accepted an Amendment making the construction of the Act of 1898 perfectly clear, and I do not wish to reopen that discussion; but it is the fact that but for this day's Debate, quite apart from these words which the hon. Member desires to strike out, the magistrates would have gone on inflicting the punishment of flogging under the Act of 1898.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I am proposing to put the law back into precisely the position in which it stood before half-past four this afternoon. The question we have to decide is not whether we will reintroduce flogging, but whether we will abolish it. The whole of my hon. Friend's speech, which was directed to the point that this was going back to an old, barbarous, abandoned system, is not ad rem.
§ Mr. G. GREENWOOD
Is it not the fact that, whereas under the old law they could flog in England, in Scotland and Ireland they had not such power, and now we are giving that power all round?
§ Mr. McKENNA
I am speaking only of England. I quite admit that with regard to Scotland it is a new practice. I recognise the force of the speech of the hon. Member for Dumfries (Mr. Molteno), but it ought not to have been directed to me at all; it had no relevance to my case. I am not asking the House now to extend by one iota the law as regards flogging as far as England is concerned. I do not wish to mislead any hon. Member of this House for one moment. I speak in relation to England, and England only. As far as England is concerned, it is absoluetly erroneous to allege that I, as Home Secretary, am asking for any extension to the law with regard to flogging. That is an utterly unfounded charge. I am asking that the law should remain what it is. So far as it is alleged that for the first time a Liberal Home Secretary is reintroducing a new law of flogging, it is absolutely devoid of foundation. I go on to say this: Every Home Secretary who has been my predecessor, whether Liberal or Conservative, has sanctioned flogging, and the very authorities named by the hon. Member—Lord James of Hereford, Lord Herschell, Sir Edward Clarke, and others—were all successively Members of Governments in which flogging was sanctioned—and approved! It is entirely beside the mark to say that something new has been done by the present Administration which has not been done by its predecessors.
§ Mr. McKENNA
My hon. Friend says we are putting it into a new Act of Parliament only because we repealed it in the 1925 Act of 1898. We put it back again. It is not making a new punishment. It is simply putting it back into the Act of 1898. But we are putting it back in express terms so that the House may know what it is doing. I appeal to the House that all experience in the administration of the law, and the experience of those who are closely connected with it and competent to judge, is in favour of the fact that flogging in certain classes of offences has proved a deterrent. I do not put it one iota higher than that. I am as opposed to Hogging, as a rule, as any hon. Member in this House, but there is a kind of offence which is more effectively dealt with by flogging than any other form of punishment. It is because these are peculiar offences of a cold-blooded and premeditated kind, the effect of which is the ruin of the body and soul of a fellow creature in the course of long-carried, premeditated business, for the most sordid gains, and the effect upon other people being absolutely disregarded, that I speak as I do. If it were merely the effect of momentary passion, if it were in response to the ordinary temptations from which men suffer, if it were the temptations to which the burglar, or even the murderer, are subject, I would have a certain amount of agreement with hon. Members who opposed flogging in these cases.
I dislike flogging intensely. I can assure hon. Members—I know that those who disagree; from me think I am acting wrongly and will not believe me—[HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."]—but I can assure hon. Members that it was a fact—some hon. Members are so bitter on the subject of flogging that they cannot believe that any hon. Member can go through those emotions that I have gone through—when these cases of flogging were first brought to me, my horror was as great as that of any hon. Member. I asked if I had any power to stop the flogging. The answer made to me was: "Read the case in detail first." I read the case in detail, and decided on flogging. That is my personal experience. I was strongly by nature, by instinct, and by my training, as opposed to flogging as any hon. Member in this House, but I venture to say that as in the case of every one of my predecessors, no man who has had experience and who has followed these cases out in detail, would come to any other conviction, but that you must in these exceptional and peculiar cases act in the only way which the evidence shows is likely to prove a 1926 deterrent. For that reason I hope the House will not accept the Amendment of my hon. Friend's, but will be content to allow flogging to remain as it has been in the past—a punishment for this particular offence.
With the leave of the House, I might say in reply to the hon. Member that this subject was debated on on Friday. I regret that I had to leave the House in order to fulfil an engagement at Bristol. I was not in the House at a later stage of the proceedings, and when punishment in respect to the second or subsequent convictions was dealt with. I feel just as strongly as anybody in the House that this punishment ought not to be inflicted on a first conviction if there is the slightest chance of a person being wrongly convicted. We ought then by all possible means to avoid his being punished in this way. But I do not believe that anybody is likely to be wrongly convicted a second time; therefore I ask the House to disagree with the Amendment making flogging applicable on the first conviction, but to agree with the Clause as it now stands. In either case, I think, the matter should be left to the judgment of the House.
§ Colonel BURN
I rise for a very few minutes because the hon. Gentleman the Member for Peterborough has thrown in my teeth an expression which I used the other day. I want to stand by it, and to say I meant every word of it. After all the House of Commons have certain duties in this world, and our mission, the mission of the Members of the House of Commons, is not to reclaim girls who have gone astray; but it is our mission and our duty to protect the womanhood and girlhood of this country. Never was there a time in the history of a nation when the protection of the House of Commons was more needed for these girls. Those men who ply this trade are certainly what I should call the dregs of humanity. They are debased and debauched, and when they get these wretched girls into their clutches and live on their earnings, they deserve no pity from anyone. What they do deserve is punishment which will make them realise what they have done. Personally I am a humane individual—as humane as anyone. But when these men ply this trade, then I say they need some punishment that will bring it home to them, and which will make them ashamed of themselves. The hon. Gentleman the Member for Salford said that it was the duty of this House to reclaim these men. I deny 1927 it. It is not our duty to reclaim them. I very much doubt if this House could reclaim them.
There are people whose mission in the world it is to do all they can for these people; to try to show them the error of their ways. It is not the mission of the House of Commons. These men are cowards, and you must make them feel something to realise what they have done. There are many protagonists for these men on the other side of the House— [HON. MEMBERS: "No, no."] Well, you may say what you like, you have stood up for them and against Hogging being inflicted on them, and the reason is that you are afraid that one innocent man might be flogged. But we must remember that before flogging is inflicted a man has a right to appeal, and there is justice in this land, and if a man is innocent it is ten thousand chances against his being flogged. But even if that were not the case, I would rather run the risk of one innocent man in ten thousand being flogged than that one should escape who committed the vile and atrocious crime of plying this trade. The hon. Member for Peterborough said it was vengeance; I think he is wrong. It is not a question of vengeance; it is a question of punishing those who are guilty. There are people who say flogging is no deterrent. I have spent many years of my life in India, where they do flog, and all the gaol authorities there informed me that flogging was a distinct deterrent and did a very great deal towards stopping crimes. I am not speaking of the crime with which we are dealing to-night, but the ordinary crime which is punished by flogging in India. Flogging is claimed to be a deterrent by the authorities of that country.
The Member for West Aberdeenshire is against this Act being applied to Scotland. We are glad to think it is not necessary in Scotland. Other Members have told us that there are cases in Glasgow and other big towns of this nature, but whether a man be an Englishman, a Scotchman, a Welshman, or an Irishman, if he commits this crime and lives upon the earnings of these women, I say the only punishment that fits the crime is a good, sound flogging. I claim this because it is proved up to the hilt that nothing else will stamp it out in this country. Let us show the people of this country that we mean business and that we intend that men who live upon the earnings of these girls should meet the punishment they deserve.
§ Mr. J. H. THOMAS
Although in disagreement with many Members on this side of the House, I know of nothing more I unfair than the suggestion of the hon. and gallant Gentleman who has just sat down I that those who disagree with him or disagree with me are in any sense guilty of being sympathetic with this horrible crime.
§ Colonel BURN
I never said that. I never said they were sympathetic with this traffic. All I did say was that they were protagonists against flogging for fear one innocent man would suffer.
§ Mr. DEPUTY-SPEAKER (Mr. Whitley)
I think this is a very good example of the desirability of the old custom of the House that remarks should be addressed to the Chair. That would avoid personal reflection of that kind.
§ Mr. J. H. THOMAS
I am well within the recollection of the House and most certainly the impression left upon me and upon many Members on this side was that the hon. and gallant Member did suggest that because there was opposition, and because there was a feeling that flogging would be no deterrent in this particular crime, that those who opposed the flogging lent themselves in some way to sympathy with the procurer. I am going to support the Clause as it stands, but I desire to point out, as did the hon. Member on the Nationalist Benches opposite, that it is somewhat remarkable that after spending so much time in discussing this particular question, when Members from all sides of the House and connected with all parties rise in righteous indignation in sympathy with these poor fallen women, we are all compelled to admit that this Bill does not touch the real root of the question. The real root of this question is an economic one. While vice is more amply rewarded than virtue, while young girls in factories and workshops in every town in this country are paid sweated wages, these girls are driven invariably to prostitution. The hon. Member for Perth said in answer to an interjection that these procurers are not poor men, but that their victims are poor women. I agree. Take a census of the whole of the prostitutes in this country and invariably you will find they come from the poorer class to which we on these Benches belong, and it is because I am satisfied that your housing conditions, low wages, slum landlords and sweaters are equally responsible with other people that I regret this question is not dealt with even from a broader standpoint.
1929 I recognise that the figures the Home Secretary gave this evening do not justify the statements made by many Members on this side of the House that flogging is not a deterrent. What do the figures show? They show that up to twelve months ago there was more flogging than during the past twelve months. I think I he figures show that there were thirty-three cases on an average in the first period as against twenty in the latter. In any case it was shown that for the same crime that flogging was allowed up to two years ago there were more cases of flogging, and incidentally when flogging had stopped crime had increased. That is my reading of the figures, and that is my impression of the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. I am going to vote for the Bill as it stands. I am delighted to know that we would not be discussing this question now if the country had not driven us to it, because it is not so much the will of the House of Commons that has caused us to move as it is that the public conscience has been aroused and forced every Member to take some interest in this question. If this Bill has the effect of drawing more attention to the economic side of this question, certainly the discussion will not have been in vain.
§ Mr. A. LYTTELTON
I do not like to give an entirely silent vote upon this question, and I desire to follow the example of the hon. Member who has preceded me, and endeavour, at any rate, to isolate the difference that exists between us on this point. I am strongly, as a general rule, against the punishment of flogging for this one simple reason. The object of prison discipline is curative, and, as a rule, and for the offences for which flogging is given—I mean offences of violence—that punishment is not curative. On the contrary, a man who has been flogged in prison, as a rule, comes out of prison, it may be deterred from committing that particular crime, but burning with hatred against society which has inflicted upon him what even the vilest of men regard as an indignity. Having said that I wish to dissociate myself from the observation of some hon. Gentlemen who have stated that the idea of resentment in connection with the punishment of crime is altogether obsolete. That is a complete fallacy. The State says to some man whose little daughter has been outraged, "You shall not avenge yourself, but we will sanction and regulate and legalise the resentment which is burning in your breast, and we will ourselves 1930 avenge the wrong." Lot me urge upon those who hold an opposite view that directly you get punishment disproportionate to offences, directly you get your criminal code unduly lenient, and monstrous offences dealt with in an inadequate way, you throw the subject back to his primitive weapons. Let every hon. Member put his own case. In this matter you directly incite a man to take the law into his own hands, and redress in a more signal manner the grievance which he has suffered from. I have put aside these crimes of violence as crimes which, as a rule, the punishment of flogging is not appropriate to, because those who commit violent crimes do not fear flogging to the same extent as other offenders. Therefore I am in accord with a great many hon. Members with regard to punishment of that particular class of offence, but as the Home Secretary has pointed out in admirably chosen words, the crimes that are going to be dealt with, and for which I support flogging, are not crimes of violence, but cold, calculated, corrupt, passionless crimes. They are committed by men who have not the nature of man, for no man who is worthy of the name could bully and cheat women for the purpose of bringing their lives into vileness in order to themselves get gain. Therefore this crime is a peculiar and most exceptional one, and one which, as the Home Secretary and the hon. Member for Fareham (Mr. Lee) has pointed out, is a crime of peculiarly miserable decadence. My own opinion is that it will prove a tremendous deterrent to such men for such a crime.
Let me say a word or two about an argument which has been constantly used throughout this Debate. We have been asked why we do not give this punishment to women who are guilty of the same offence, and why we do not give the same punishment to women as we are applying to the men? The answer is perfectly easy. In these matters you must always carry with you—and that is why I am endeavouring to argue this matter temperately—in your punishment public opinion is with you, and I say without fear of contradiction, and I would say it in any assembly in England, that if you attempt to apply flogging to women for these offences in ninety-nine out of one hundred, you would not get a conviction. You must carry public opinion with you. It is different with men, but in the case of women nature revolts against it, and you have public opinion with you in applying this punishment to men. There- 1931 fore the argument is irrelevant and indeed absurd when it is sought to be extended to women. I have one single observation more to make, and it is this. In this House we are not really affected by this legislation because our daughters and our feminine relations are not in danger, in fact they are amply protected, but those we have to protect are the daughters of the poor. When you find hon. Members belonging to the Labour party supporting this measure for the protection of their own women kind, then I think you have an overwhelming case for the infliction of this punishment. It is on these short grounds that I wish to support the Home Secretary.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
I have listened with great interest to this Debate. I have watched all through it for an opportunity to say a word or two, and had my view been expressed by any other hon. Member, I should not have addressed the House. The right hon. Gentleman said that the primary object of the present punishment was curative.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
I beg to differ from the right hon. Gentleman. The primary object of the present punishment is to deter. In the discussion that has gone on there has been this distinction. Some hon. Members referred to the deterring influence of a punishment when they meant its deterring effect upon the individual criminal. May I point out that that is a small part of the deterring influence of punishment. What we have to consider is the deterring influence upon the potential criminal. You cure one criminal by flogging, and if the punishment is curative it cures that individual criminal and no other. If the punishment deters, one punishment to one criminal might deter hundreds of other potential criminals from committing that crime. That is its primary function, and the question is, are we enacting the minimum amount of punishment consistent with acting as a deterrent. That is the function of this Amendment. Someone asked, Why not flog women? That would be a violation of the principle I have enunciated that you want to inflict the minimum amount of punishment consistent with acting as a deterrent. Women are deterred from crimes by a lesser punishment than men. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] I do not think anybody will dispute that. Take the 1932 children at school. It requires a larger amount of physical punishment in the case of a boy to deter him from offences against school discipline than it does in the case of the girls.
§ Dr. CHAPPLE
I am not saying that this is so in all cases, but every teacher of children knows, and it is not necessary to inquire, that this is so in regard to corporal punishment of girls at school. That is an acknowledged fact. In our schools a smaller amount of corporal punishment is required for girls than is required for boys. Therefore to punish women in the same way as you punish men would be an infringement of that principle, because women can be deterred by simpler methods. Those who have been shedding tears over the sufferings of the criminal have grossly exaggerated the severity of corporal punishment. They have given the most extravagant descriptions. The hon. Member for Clare (Mr. Lynch) described something actually unknown in corporal punishment, and hon. Members on this side of the House who have described corporal punishment have described it as it was known several centuries ago. Corporal punishment to-day is entirely different. I will give a quotation to show what corporal punishment is. The term in the Bill itself is "whipping." The hon. Member for Clare recently gave a most perfervid and exaggerated description of what flogging meant. He gave the impression that it is a much more brutal thing than it really is. He quoted from an author I am going to quote, Mr. William Tallack, and he gave a wrong impression of the views of that author. This author condemns the brutality of brutal corporal punishment, but he sums up this way, and these are his own convictions, after weighing all the pros, and cons:—Such despicable miscreants are more effectually cowed and more promptly held in check by smart corporal punishment than by any other modes of restraint. It is absurd to talk about degrading them by this infliction: they hare already degraded themselves to the uttermost. To these inhuman foes of their own kind the administration of a moderate but stinging castigation with rods, or a whip or leather strap on the bare back, for a reasonable number of times, at intervals, according to the enormity of the offence, is a much more dreaded—And is, therefore, much more of a deterrent for the potential criminal, as well for the criminal himself—and therefore a more effectual punishment than months or years of mere punishment.The hon. Member for Salford (Sir W. Byles) challenged us a little while ago to 1933 produce any recent authority, and I give him the advantage of this quotation. Another fundamental blunder the apologists for these criminals make is that they focus all their attention on the sufferings of the man who is punished and overlook or at least view with a wrong perspective the sufferings of their victims. Who are the victims of the criminal? Every woman and girl in this community to-night is a victim of the criminal. They are all terrorised by the criminal, and every woman and every child who is terrorised is a victim of the criminal, and the primary function of punishment is to deter prospective criminals and to limit the amount of sufferings of their victims. I never think of the criminal and his punishment without seeing beyond him his victims, and when we think of them we shall shed fewer tears over the sufferings of the criminal. The hon. Member for Aberdeen (Mr. J. M. Henderson) said no man and no statesman had the right to inflict corporal punishment. What about the man who sees his daughter seduced? Has ho no right to inflict corporal punishment? He would not be a man if he did not. Why has not the State a right to do what a man has the right to do. The object of the State is not only to deter this man, but every man who, in the absence of this punishment, might become a criminal and make victims. All the arguments urged this afternoon against flogging could be
§ equally made against any punishment whatsoever. Someone talked about increasing punishments. Why give Ave years for one offence and only two years for another? We measure crimes and offences, as a matter of fact, by the punishment we attach to them, and that has a moral effect upon the community. Many men who measure crimes have no other standard than the standard which the law attaches to them, and you measure punishment in order to deter and to educate the prospective criminal, and by educating the prospective criminal you educate the potential criminal and protect the community. The primary function of punishment is to protect the community against the potential criminal. I have no sympathy with the maudlin sentimentality that has been spewed over these criminals. They do not deserve that sympathy. It is the community which requires that protection which, I think, this Bill will give it.
§ Question put, "That the word 'and' stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 288; Noes, 74.1937
|Division No. 307.]||AYES.||[9.58 p.m.|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Boyton, J.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Adamson, William||Beady, P. J.||Dawes, J. A.|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Bridgeman, W. Clive||Delany, William|
|Adkins, Sir W. Ryland D.||Brocklehurst, W. B.||Denman, Hon. Richard Douglas|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Bryce, J. Annan||Dixon, C. H.|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Burn, Colonel C. R.||Donelan, Captain A.|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Doris, W.|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Doughty, Sir George|
|Armitage, R.||Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Duffy, William J.|
|Arnold, Sydney||Cator, John||Duke, Henry Edward|
|Baird, J. L.||Cautley, H. S.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Cave, George||Duncan, J. Hastings (Yorks, Otley)|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)|
|Baker, Sir R. L. (Dorset, N.)||Cawley, Harold T. (Heywood)||Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)|
|Baldwin, Stanley||Clancy, John Joseph||Faber, George Denison (Clapham)|
|Ballour, sir Robert||Clough, William||Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)|
|Barlow, Montague (Salford)||Collings, Rt. Hon. J.||Falconer, J.|
|Barrie, H. T.||Collins, G. F. (Greenock)||Farrell, James Patrick|
|Barton, William||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Fell, Arthur|
|Bathurst, Hon. Allen B. (Glouc, E.)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson|
|Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)||Cotton, William Francis||Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey|
|Benn, W. W. (T. H'mts., St. George)||Courthope, George Loyd||Ffrench, Peter|
|Bentham, G. J.||Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Field, William|
|Bethell, Sir J. H.||Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward|
|Bigland, Alfred||Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Flavin, Michael Joseph|
|Boland, John Pius||Cralk, Sir Henry||George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd|
|Boles, Lieut.-Col, Dennis Fortescue||Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Gibbs, G. A.|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||Crumley, Patrick||Gill, A. H.|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Cullinan, John||Gilmour, Captain J.|
|Boyle, D. (Mayo, N.)||Davies, E. William (Eifion)||Gladstone, W. G. C.|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Glanville, H. J.|
|Glazebrook, Capt. Philip K.||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A (S. Geo. Han. S.)||Roch, Walter F.|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Goldman, C. S.||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Goldsmith, Frank||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Royds, Edmund|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Magnus, Sir Philip||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Rutherford, Watson (L'pool, W. Derby)|
|Gretton, John||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Sanderson, Lancelot|
|Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Sheehy, David|
|Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Gulland, John William||Middlemore, John Throgmorton||Shortt, Edward|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||Millar, James Duncan||Simon, Sir John Alisebrook|
|Hackett, John||Molloy, M.||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Hancock, J. G.||Morison, Hector||Snowden, Philip|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Mount, William Arthur||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Muldoon, John||Stanler, Beville|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, W.)||Munro, R.||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Staveley-Hill, Henry|
|Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Murray, Captain Hon, A. C.||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Hayden, John Patrick||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Stewart, Gershom|
|Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.)||Newdegate, F. A.||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Sutherland, J. E.|
|Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Talbot, Lord E.|
|Henry, Sir Charles||Nield, Herbert||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hickman, Colonel T. E.||Nolan, Joseph||Tennant, Harold John|
|Higham, John Sharp||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Terrell, G. (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Hill, Sir Clement L.||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Thomas, J. H.|
|Hills, John Waller||O'Doherty, Philip||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Hinds, John||O'Donnell, Thomas||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||O'Dowd, John||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Hogge, James Myles||Ogden, Fred||Tryon, Capt. George Clement|
|Holmes, Daniel Turner||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Hope, Harry (Bute)||O'Malley, William||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)||Valentia, Viscount|
|Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Wadsworth, J.|
|Horner, A. L.||O'Shee, James John||Walker, Col. William Hall|
|Houston, Robert Paterson||O'Sullivan, Timothy||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Hudson, Walter||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Perkins, Walter Frank||Webb, H.|
|Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Pole-Carew, Sir R.||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pollard, Sir George H.||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Joyce, Michael||Power, Patrick Joseph||Williams, P. (Middlesbrough)|
|Keating, M.||Pretyman, E. G.||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N)|
|Kelly, Edward||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Kilbride, Denis||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.)||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Ripon)|
|Knight, Captain E. A.||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molten)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Reddy, M.||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Larmor, Sir J.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)||Young, Samuel (Cavan, E.)|
|Lee, Arthur H.||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)||Young, W. (Perthshire, E.)|
|Levy, Sir Maurice||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir|
|Lyell, Charles Henry||Robinson, Sidney||H. Raphael and Dr. Chapple.|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Hardie, J. Keir||Lundon, T.|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Lynch, A. A.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Hayward, Evan||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Barnes, George N.||Hazleton, Richard||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||McGhee, Richard|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Horne, Charles Silvester (Ipswich)||Macpherson, James Ian|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||M'Micking, Major Gilbert|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||John, Edward Thomas||Manfield, Harry|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Jones, Edgar R. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Meagher, Michael|
|Chancellor, H. G.||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Molteno, Percy Alport|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Morrell, Philip|
|De Forest, Baron||Jowett, F. W.||Neilson, Francis|
|Elverston, Sir Harold||Kellaway, Frederick George||Nuttall, Harry|
|Goldstone, Frank||King, Joseph||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||O'Grady, James|
|Gulney, P.||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb'rld, Cockerm'th)||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.||Robertson, John M. (Tyneside)||Wardle, George J.|
|Pirie, Duncan V.||Rowntree, Arnold||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Pointer, Joseph||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.||Scanlan, Thomas||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Pringle, Wm. M. R.||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Radford, George Heynes||Sutton, John E.|
|Raffan, Peter Wilson||Taylor, John W. (Durham)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Rendall, Atheistan||Thorne, William (West Ham)||G. Greenwood and Mr. J. M. Henderson.|
|Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
Question, "That the Question be now put," put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. BAIRD
I beg to move, in Subsection (3), to leave out the words "in the case of a second or subsequent conviction."
We have already had a considerable Debate upon this question, and I do not propose to cover the ground which was traversed on the previous occasion. I will only seek to justify the omission of these words by referring to the speech made by the Home Secretary on the first day of the Report stage of this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman said:—The police advise me that, after a conviction has been obtained, if there is power to flog there will be nobody to flog. Flogging can only be administered after a second conviction, and, after a first conviction, not one of these men will remain in this country any longer."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st November, 1912, cols. 768–769.]Why should we admit a second offence in connection with offences in this category? We do not admit a second offence for murder, and surely the offence we seek to deal with is in no whit less important to eradicate than murder. I fail to see why we should give a man, so to speak, the first offence in so despicable a crime as the one we seek to deal with. The hon. Member for Woolwich (Mr. Crooks) on the first day of this stage of the Bill made a short speech which I think very strongly impressed everybody. He said that, supposing this was a case which concerned the daughters of hon. Members, you had an analogy when Members of this House decided that the offence of garrotting should be dealt with by means of flogging. Since that was put on the Statute Book there has been no attempt to garrotte a Member of this House. Nobody has been flogged, but nobody has been garrotted. That is a perfectly fair analogy in a case of this sort. If we do not have to deal with offences against our own daughters, at any rate they are offences against the daughters of our constituents, and I do not see what difference there is in a case of this kind. Surely we might treat the daughters of our constituents even as our own. I undertake to say that no man to whom it happened that his daughter was decoyed by one of these blackguards would say that flogging was 1938 too slight a punishment for him. I know that people who take the opposite line are apt to say that it means a reversion to an old and barbarous punishment. This is an old and barbarous crime, and if the new and humane punishments have failed to eradicate it, it is worth while to return to the more simple form of punishment which was effective in a more elementary stage of civilisation. I think that people who talk about our state of civilisation and complain of punishment of this sort with our history in its present condition, ought to realise that whatever civilisation may be it is a gross blot that these crimes are still continued, and that if civilisation has hitherto failed by humane methods to eradicate this form of crime it is time to see whether we cannot do something which will eradicate it.
The hon. Member for North Ayrshire (Captain Campbell) to-night, in a very striking maiden speech, which, unfortunately, was not heard by very many hon. Members, pointed out that so far from flogging not being a deterrent, in Canada it had acted as a splendid deterrent for this very kind of crime, or for analogous crime. What is the argument against it? I do not want to go into the whole question of flogging as against other kinds of punishment, but I submit that if you agree to flogging for a second offence, why on earth cannot you agree to it for a first offence? Do you want there to be a first offence? You know perfectly well that this crime is not in the category of what is known abroad as the crime passionelle, something done on the spur of the moment, when a man may lose control of himself. It is done with the most cold and dastardly calculation it is possible to imagine. Are we as a House of Commons to say we will let the man off the first time, but if he does it twice we will flog him? I think that is a contemptible attitude for a lot of men to take up in a case where woman's honour is at stake. Are we to save the women of this country from the dastardly attempts of these men? If flogging will deter them, and there is every reason to believe it will, I think we ought to make flogging a possible punishment for the first 1939 offence. As the hon. Member for Woolwich said, nobody need be flogged if he does not commit the offence. There is no question of compulsory flogging. It is not even compulsory on the judge to inflict flogging. I should like to quote an interjection made by the Home Secretary in the course of a speech made by the hon. and learned Member for Cambridge (Mr. Rawlinson):—The hon. Member will forgive me; he is making a mistake. The case of the police is two-fold: first, that they cannot get a conviction now under Section 6; and, secondly, that when we have got a first conviction we shall never be troubled with the second."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 1st November 1912, col. 771–772.]I do not want to be troubled with a first offence, and if we adopt this Amendment I do not think we shall be troubled with a first.
§ Mr. GERSHOM STEWART
There seem to be three classes of opinion in the House, those who think flogging should not be inflicted at all, those who wish to do it for a second offence, which I think is almost a vote of want of confidence in British justice, and those who think that if after a full and fair trial a man is convicted of the crime treated of in this Bill, we should not hesitate for a moment to arm the law with the power to inflict punishment if called on. With the fact that it is optional, and the fact that there is a Criminal Court of Appeal, it is ridiculous for the House to be squeamish. I especially appeal to Members for Scotland. In reading the Clause I see the name of Scotland four times and England only once, and I ask Members for Scotland not to do anything which might possibly tend to make Scotland a preferential hunting ground for all the foreign pimps in this world. I listened to the speech of the hon. Member (Mr. Henderson) with interest and with great regret. He said we have no right to inflict the lash upon a man because it puts his temperature up. If the school in which he and I have been brought up is the true school we need not bother about that, because a man who is guilty of this crime will find in the next world that his temperature is higher still. Scotch Members are accustomed to see the shepherds of their country guarding their flocks. We know that a shepherd can keep his flock in order and protect it as a rule by telling his dogs to bark, but if wolves attack the fold he has to tell his dogs to bite, and we as shepherds of the public, when our women-kind are attacked, ought to arm the law 1940 with the power and let the law bite them and bite them hard. We do not want to mince matters. This is the final opportunity the House has of declaring itself on this particular point. Who can extend sympathy to a man of this sort who first of all spoils a girl perhaps for his own gratification; and, secondly, lives upon her earnings; and, thirdly, should she show any desire to accumulate a little money and escape from his clutches, ill-treats her shamefully—I am astonished to see a good man like the hon. Member (Mr. G. Greenwood) extending sympathy or at any rate casting a protecting arm to some extent over these people—
§ Mr. STEWART
If I used the wrong word I hope he will excuse me. I know he detests it as much as anyone, but my sympathy is with the women and the girls alone, and T have none at all with anyone else. Prevention is very much better than cure, and if your merciful code were to be accepted you would drive men to take the law into their own hands and shoot the offenders. In giving the law this power you are really doing a merciful and wise thing, and you are placing the State in such a strong position that there will be no excuse for any individual citizen to assert his right should his family be violated. If you stick to what you did ten days ago, and do not flinch—you have made these rascals quake in their shoes by what you did ten days ago—you will clear the country of half of them between now and Christmas, and instead of giving to many defenceless girls and women probably a life of misery you may ensure to them a happy New Year. I say that in dealing with this crime which is composed of cold-blooded villany, shameless immorality, and the most sordid avarice, this House is wise in acting vigorously, and I ask every man who voted for this penalty nearly a fortnight ago to take his courage, in both hands and say in regard to this crime, "We will not have it," and make certain that men who commit it will have a good sound castigation when they fall into the hands of the law.
§ Mr. McKENNA
This question obviously is precisely the same in substance as the one which was put on the Friday before last, and on which a Division was taken as to flogging for a first offence. It was I carried by the narrow majority of four. It 1941 has since been stated that a number of hon. Members who voted then voted in the wrong Lobby. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Certainly there is some degree of doubt as to what the intention of the House was at that time. [An HON. MEMBER: "There was no doubt about it."] This evening, at any rate, we have an opportunity of definitely discovering what is the intention of the House with regard to this point, and I would respectfully submit to the House that the merits of the question have been very fully discussed. Perhaps I might be allowed to say, as a personal explanation only, that on the last occasion, though I was not here, I should certain, if I had been here, have voted for flogging being administered only on the second conviction. [An HON. MEMBER: "Why?"] I should base myself upon the wisdom of our ancestors. When they imposed flogging under the Act of 1824, they imposed it only for the second conviction, and again that was done under the Statute passed in 1898. On the merits of the case we ought to be super-careful that no person who is wrongly convicted should be flogged. The hon. Member (Mr. Gershom Stewart) referred to the sheep dog. The sheep dog never makes a mistake in regard to his sheep. [An HON. MEMBER: "The sheep went wrong yesterday."] I understand the hon. Member's point. It not infrequently happens that mistakes are made, and I submit—I do not know whether this argument will appeal to hon. Members opposite—particularly in view of the fact that there is a considerable body of sentiment in this House representative of considerable feeling outside against flogging in any circumstances that those who have supported flogging, as I have done, should not be acting properly unless we recognise what a strong point has been raised on their behalf that you ought never in cases of this kind to run the risk of a wrong conviction. I support the view that flogging should not be inflicted for the first conviction.
§ Mr. LEE
The right hon. Gentleman in this connection, I think, quoted Statutes which were not actually to the point. In the Garrotting Act, into the merits of which I do not wish to enter, flogging was provided for the first offence. I would also remind him that since the Garrotting Act was passed in 1863 the Court of Criminal Appeal has been set up, and if a person is wrongly convicted he has the right of appeal to that Court. In that way the risk of wrong conviction has been very 1942 greatly decreased. [HON. MEMBERS: "Rich men."] Only to-day we have had two cases of poor men who appealed against convictions, and in one case the conviction was quashed. Apart from that, I ask the House to consider that at an earlier stage to-day the Government accepted an Amendment of the hon. Member for Peterborough which prevents the possibility of any one of these criminals being flogged on summary conviction. That was done, as I understand, to prevent this power from being indiscriminately or unwisely used. In this case the conviction can only take place as the result of a trial on indictment, and the punishment is at the discretion of the Court, and, in addition, if the verdict is considered to be unfair there is an appeal open to the victim. On all these grounds, quite apart from the question of flogging which we have discussed ad nauseam, I shall support the Amendment.
§ Sir RYLAND ADKINS
I regret very much to differ from the hon. and learned Member for Fareham, to whom the House and the country are indebted for the trouble which he has taken over this Bill. Like many Members of this House who have supported the insertion of flogging for a second offence, I do attach a great deal of importance to its being reserved for a second offence. It is not the case that any one of these offenders is allowed his first offence, as the phrase went last week. The punishment for the first offence under this section is raised from twelve months to two years imprisonment with hard labour, which is one of the most severe punishments known to our law apart from flogging. This House supported, with a very large majority, the insertion of words in the earlier part of this Clause, which very properly extends the opportunity of bringing charges for this offence, but when you are dealing with a word in an Act of Parliament, words such as exercising control, direction of influence, you are dealing of necessity with words which have not yet had absolute precision given to them by Courts of Law, and there is a real risk that occasionally, in the case of a first offence, you may not be absolutely certain that every conviction is right. Therefore, it is in strict accordance with the uniform practice of both our laws and our judges to draw distinction between first and second offences. I hope the House, not yielding one iota from the position previously taken up with regard to flogging generally, will combine with it that measure of judgment shown in other matters which only assigns 1943 the punishment of flogging for second offences, when all danger of uncertainty is eliminated, as far as human skill can eliminate it.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 188; Noes, 164.1945
|Division No. 308.]||AYES.||[10.30 p.m.|
|Abraham, Rt. Hon. William (Rhondda)||Harvey, W. E. (Derbyshire, N.E.)||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.|
|Adamson, William||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||O'Sullivan, Timothy|
|Addison, Dr. C.||Havelock-Allan, Sir Henry||Outhwaite, R. L.|
|Agnew, Sir George William||Hayward, Evan||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Ainsworth, John Stirling||Hazieton, Richard||Pearson, Hon. Weetman H. M.|
|Allen, A. A. (Dumbartonshire)||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Pirie, Duncan Vernon|
|Allen, Rt. Hon. Charles P. (Stroud)||Helme, Sir Norval Watson||Pointer, Joseph|
|Arnold, Sydney||Henderson, J. M. (Aberdeen, W.)||Pollard, Sir George H.|
|Baker, H. T. (Accrington)||Higham, John Sharp||Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.|
|Barlow, Sir John Emmott (Somerset)||Hinds, John||Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)|
|Barnes, G. N.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Priestley, Sir W. E. B. (Bradford, E.)|
|Barton, William||Horne, C. Silvester (Ipswich)||Pringle, William M. R.|
|Beck, Arthur Cecil||Howard, Hon. Geoffrey||Radford, G. H.|
|Benn, W. W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.)||Hudson, Walter||Rattan, Peter Wilson|
|Bentham, G. J.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (South Shields)|
|Black, Arthur W.||Isaacs, Rt. Hon. Sir Rufus||Reddy, Michael|
|Boland, John Pius||Jardine, Sir J. (Roxburgh)||Redmond, William Archer (Tyrone, E.)|
|Booth, Frederick Handel||John, Edward Thomas||Rendall, Atheistan|
|Boyle, Daniel (Mayo, North)||Jones, Edgar (Merthyr Tydvil)||Richardson, Albion (Peckham)|
|Buckmaster, Stanley O.||Jones, H. Haydn (Merioneth)||Richardson, Thomas (Whitehaven)|
|Burke, E. Haviland-||Jones, J. Towyn (Carmarthen, East)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Burt, Rt. Hon. Thomas||Jones, Leif Stratten (Notts, Rushcliffe)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Byles, Sir William Pollard||Jones, W. S. Glyn- (T. H'mts, Stepney)||Robertson, J. M. (Tyneside)|
|Carr-Gomm, H. W.||Jowett, Frederick William||Robinson, Sidney|
|Cawley, Sir Frederick (Prestwich)||Joyce, Michael||Roch, Walter F.|
|Chancellor, Henry George||Keating, Matthew||Roche, Augustine (Louth)|
|Clough, William||Kellaway, Frederick George||Rowntree, Arnold|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Kilbride, Denis||Russell, Rt. Hon. Thomas W.|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||King, Joseph||Samuel, J. (Stockton-on-Tees)|
|Cotton, William Francis||Lambert, Rt. Hon. G. (Devon, S. Molton)||Scanlan, Thomas|
|Crawshay-Williams, Eliot||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Scott, A. MacCallum (Glas., Bridgeton)|
|Cullinan, J.||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, West)||Sheehy, David|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Lawson, Sir W. (Cumb rid, Cockerm'th)||Shortt, Edward|
|Davies, Timothy (Lincs., Louth)||Leach, Charles||Smith, Albert (Lancs., Clitheroe)|
|Dawes, J. A.||Lundon, Thomas||Spicer, Rt. Hon. Sir Albert|
|De Forest, Baron||Lyell, Charles Henry||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)|
|Delany, William||Lynch, Arthur Alfred||Strauss, Edward A. (Southwark, West)|
|Denman, Hon. R. D.||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Sutherland, John E.|
|Duffy, William J.||Macdonald. J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Sutton, John E.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||McGhee, Richard||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Duncan, J. Hastings (York, Otley)||Macnamara, Rt. Hon. Dr. T. J.||Tennant, Harold John|
|Edwards, Sir Francis (Radnor)||Macpherson, James Ian||Thomas, J. H.|
|Eiverston, Sir Harold||M'Callum, Sir John M.||Thorne, William (West Ham)|
|Farrell, James Patrick||McKenna, Rt. Hon. Reginald||Toulmin, Sir George|
|Fenwick, Rt. Hon. Charles||M'Micking, Major Gilbert||Wadsworth, John|
|Ferens, Rt. Hon. Thomas Robinson||Manfield, Harry||Walsh, Stephen (Lancs., Ince)|
|Ffrench, Peter||Marshall, Arthur Harold||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Flavin, Michael Joseph||Mason, David M. (Coventry)||Wardle, George J.|
|George, Rt. Hon. D. Lloyd||Masterman, Rt. Hon. C. F. G.||Webb, H.|
|Gill, A. H.||Meagher, Michael||Wedgwood, Josiah C.|
|Gladstone, W. G. C.||Molteno, Percy Alport||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Glanville, H. J.||Morrell, Philip||Whyte, A. F.|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Muldoon, John||Wilkie, Alexander|
|Goldstone, Frank||Murray, Captain Hon. Arthur c.||Williams, J. (Glamorgan)|
|Greenwood, Granville G. (Peterborough)||Nicholson, Sir Charles N. (Doncaster)||Williams, Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Griffith, Ellis J.||Norton, Captain Cecil W.||Williams, Penry (Middlesbrough)|
|Guest, Hon. Major C. H. C. (Pembroke)||Nuttall, Harry||Wilson, Rt. Hon. J. W. (Worcs., N.)|
|Guest, Hon. Frederick E. (Dorset, E.)||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Guiney, P.||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Winfrey, Richard|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius (Galway)||O'Doherty, Philip||Young, William (Perth, East)|
|Hackett, John||O'Dowd, John|
|Hall, Frederick (Normanton)||O'Grady, James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Sir|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Kelly, Edward P. (Wicklow, W.)||R. Adkins and Mr. Cawley.|
|Harvey, T. E. (Leeds, West)||O'Neill, Dr. Charles (Armagh, S.)|
|Abraham, William (Dublin, Harbour)||Balcarres, Lord||Benn, Arthur Shirley (Plymouth)|
|Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William R.||Baldwin, Stanley||Bentinck, Lord Henry Cavendish-|
|Armitage, R.||Barlow, Montague (Salford, South)||Bethell, Sir J. H.|
|Baker, Joseph Allen (Finsbury, E.)||Barrie, H. T.||Bigland, Alfred|
|Baker, Sir Randolf L. (Dorset, N.)||Bathurst, Hon. A. B. (Glouc., E.)||Boles, Lieut.-Colonel Dennis Fortescue|
|Bowerman, C. W.||Hancock, J. G.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)|
|Boyle, William (Norfolk, Mid)||Harmsworth, R. L. (Caithness-shire)||Perkins, Walter F.|
|Boyton, James||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Phillips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Brady, P. J.||Healy, Maurice (Cork)||Pole-Carew, Sir R.|
|Bridgeman, W. Clive||Healy, Timothy Michael (Cork, N.E.)||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Brocklehurst, William B.||Henderson, Major H. (Berks, Abingdon)||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Henry, Sir Charles||Pryce-Jones, Col. E.|
|Burn, Col. C. R.||Hickman, Colonel Thomas E.||Quilter, Sir William Eley C.|
|Campbell, Capt. Duncan F. (Ayr, N.)||Hill, Sir Clement L.||Raphael, Sir Herbert H.|
|Carlile, Sir Edward Hildred||Hills, J. W.||Rawson, Colonel Richard H.|
|Cator, John||Hogge, James Myles||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor)||Hope, Harry (Bute)||Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)|
|Chapple, Dr. William Allen||Hope, James Fitzalan (Sheffield)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Hope, Major J. A. (Midlothian)||Roche, John (Galway, E.)|
|Collins, G. P. (Greenock)||Horner, Andrew Long||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Houston, Robert Paterson||Ronaldshay, Earl of|
|Courthope, George Loyd||Hume-Williams, Wm. Ellis||Royds, Edmund|
|Craig, Ernest (Cheshire, Crewe)||Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Sanders, Robert A.|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Kebty-Fletcher, J. R.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Craig, Norman (Kent, Thanet)||Kelly, Edward||Simon, Sir John Allsebrook|
|Cralk, Sir Henry||Kennedy, Vincent Paul||Smith, Harold (Warrington)|
|Crichton-Stuart, Lord Ninian||Knight, Captain Eric Ayshford||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Crooks, William||Lambert, Richard (Wilts, Cricklade)||Spear, Sir John Ward|
|Crumley, Patrick||Lee, Arthur H.||Stanier, Beville|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Levy, Sir Maurice||Stanley, Hon. G. F. (Preston)|
|Doris, William||Locker-Lampson, O. (Ramsey)||Steel-Maitland, A. D.|
|Doughty, Sir George||Lowe, Sir F. W. (Birm., Edgbaston)||Talbot, Lord Edmund|
|Duke, Henry Edward||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. A. (Hanover, Sq.)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Esmonde, Dr. John (Tipperary, N.)||MacVeagh, Jeremiah||Terrell, George (Wilts, N.W.)|
|Esmonde, Sir Thomas (Wexford, N.)||M'Laren, Hon. H. D. (Leics.)||Thompson, Robert (Belfast, North)|
|Faber, George Denison (Clapham)||M'Neill, Ronald (Kent, St. Augustine's)||Thorne, G. R. (Wolverhampton)|
|Faber, Captain W. V. (Hants, W.)||Mason, James F. (Windsor)||Tryon, Captain George Clement|
|Falconer, James||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Tullibardine, Marquess of|
|Fell, Arthur||Millar, James Duncan||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Fetherstonhaugh, Godfrey||Molloy, Michael||Valentia, Viscount|
|Field, William||Money, L. G. Chiozza||Walrond, Hon. Lionel|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace Edward||Morrison-Bell, Capt. E. F. (Ashburton)||Walton, Sir Joseph|
|Gibbs, George Abraham||Morison, Hector||Warde, Col. C. E. (Kent, Mid)|
|Gilmour, Captain J.||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Wheler, Granville C. H.|
|Glazebrook, Captain Philip K.||Mount, William Arthur||White, J. Dundas (Glasgow, Tradeston)|
|Goldman, C. S.||Munro, Robert||Williams, Col. R. (Dorset, W.)|
|Goldsmith, Frank||Munro-Ferguson, Rt. Hon. R. C.||Wood, Hon. E. F. L. (Yorks, Ripon)|
|Gordon, John (Londonderry, South)||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Wood, John (Stalybridge)|
|Gordon, Hon. John Edward (Brighton)||Newdegate, F. A.||Wood, Rt. Hon. T. McKinnon (Glas.)|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Nicholson, William G. (Petersfield)||Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-|
|Greenwood, Hamar (Sunderland)||Nield, Herbert||Yate, Col. C. E.|
|Gretton, John||Nolan, Joseph||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Guinness, Hon. Rupert (Essex, S.E.)||O'Donnell, Thomas|
|Gulland, John William||O'Malley, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr. Baird and Mr. G. Stewart.|
|Hall, Fred (Dulwich)||O'Shee, James John|
|Hamilton, Lord C. J. (Kensington, S.)||Parker, Sir Gilbert (Gravesend)|
Question put, and agreed to.
§ Mr. G. GREENWOOD
I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (3), to add the words, "Provided that no indictment under this Sub-section shall be tried at Quarter Sessions," This is, I think, one of the offences which should go before a judge of the High Court.
§ Mr. McKENNA
I hope my hon. Friend will not press this Amendment. There is no reason why this particular crime should be distinguished in this particular way from other crimes.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."
§ Mr. BOOTH
Before this Bill finally leaves the House, I wish to say, as one of 1946 its critics, that I sincerely hope it will be a success. I have not the slightest faith that it will. Some of the Clauses will perhaps have a beneficial effect, but on the balance I do not think the Bill will con tribute anything to the improvement of public morality. In fact, the author of the Bill stated, in a famous interview with the "Pall Mall Gazette," that it was not a Bill to promote public morality, although there is probably now going on at the Opera House in support of this Bill a meeting, at which, I undertake to say, the tenour of the speeches will be recommending the Bill on the ground that it is designed to promote public morality. The hon. Member for Fareham said, when he introduced the Bill, that it was founded upon the recognition of prostitution as a necessary evil.
§ Mr. BOOTH
I will undertake, to furnish the hon. Member with the quotation from the OFFICIAL REPORT. I would also remind him that in Grand Committee he used the very words on the first day of meeting, and when I dissented the hon. Member asked, "Do you dissent from the statement that it is an evil or that it is necessary?" I said that I dissented from the idea that it was necessary, and that I dissented from him upon that point when he used the same term on Second Reading. I think the hon. Member will remember that passage-of-arms between us in Grand Committee. The promoters of the meeting at the Opera House and the supporters of the Bill through the country have the idea that it is a Bill to promote public morality, and they do not hold the view that prostitution is a necessary evil. Neither do I.
I have ploughed a lonely furrow, and on that account I have not felt at liberty to propose Amendments. Therefore it can never be laid to my charge that anything I have done has weakened the machinery of the Bill. It certainly will not work. It will not have the effect desired by the promoters. Some time in the future—it may be one year or it may be two years hence—we shall be instituting an inquiry to find out why it has failed. We have had it admitted during the progress of the Bill that the law passed at the time of the W. T. Stead agitation has not been enforced for twenty-seven years. That was the admission of the Home Secretary. On that I put on the Notice Paper a request for an inquiry into the whole subject, because the discussions in Committee and in this House have shown that we are not in possession of reliable facts. We have had a great many adjectives, adverbs, and lurid pictures of what is happening in London, and those of us who are familiar with the problem cannot recognise our city from the description. This Bill will not do anything to suppress the white slave traffic. It will divert it; it does nothing whatever to suppress it. It will, I think, divert the foreign 1948 trade—and that is desirable—from going through English ports, to going direct from foreign ports to Buenos Ayres. With regard to bullying and procuring, to a certain extent the Bill will divert it from males to females. I say that females are more insidious opponents. A girl perfectly pure is on her guard against a strange man; she is not on her guard, if she is a perfectly pure girl, against one of her own sex. Further, when, in the case of men only, you have added the enormous punishment of flogging to what had previously been the law, and you have not added for women any extra punishment in substitution, I say that that cannot be considered wise legislation, because you have not increased the punishment. What have you actually done in regard to this Bill? The painful problem surely is the increasing number of parents who send their girls out into the streets for prostitution. I do not say that that is generally increasing, but it is an alarming fact of our social life. You have put a terrible punishment upon the men, and you do not increase it upon the women. The consequence will be that the women will invariably come into the Court and swear that the husband knew nothing about it in order to save him from the terrible punishment of flogging. That is my prophecy of what will happen in connection with this legislation passed in a panic. We have had quoted here to-night Mr. Tallack, said to be one of the greatest authorities. What does he say, discussing the main principle upon which this Bill is founded? On page 391 of his book he says:—Hitherto nil police supervision of prostitution has more or less failed. In many cases the police have favoured or abetted it.On page 397 he says:—All attempts at suppression will certainly fail except and only so far as the roots and sources are diminished.What are the roots and sources? I listened painfully to this Debate till I heard something ring out from the Labour Benches, and I thank the hon. Member for Derby for his courage.
What are the real facts? Study London now, and at the time of the W. T. Stead agitation. I took part in that agitation, and as a junior steward at St. James' Hall had to use physical force to keep the roughs out of the meetings held in favour of the Bill. Twenty-seven years afterwards, examining the position, it is this: An increase, I am sorry to say, of juvenile depravity, of incest, and sodomy. 1949 The painted boy has made his appearance in the London streets. He was not known a generation ago. You have more overcrowding. You have families living in one room. I ask hon. Members whether they will grapple with this evil, and face the question of overcrowding? Young children are bearing babies in London. Young girls taken up, not properly cared for, are asked the explanation. Women who spend their time voluntarily in trying to win for them a better future ask, and the explanation invariably is that they first made their acquaintance with sexual matters in their own homes and from witnessing their own parents.
These are terrible and painful facts, and only the keenest sense of duty would induce me to undergo the torture of naming them to the House. This Bill does not touch the fringe of the question. I have been urging an inquiry into the facts. The police are against me. Scotland Yard is against me. Why? Because there are so many Acts that they are not enforcing! Some religious leaders are against me. Why? I cannot say. But I would appeal from the leaders of some religious missions to the younger clergymen and ministers who are not really committed to anything except a desire to arrive at the facts. I would urge a public inquiry into the whole question, then you will get at the facts—facts that will startle. This Bill simply hides the facts of the real evil from which we are suffering as to the non-administration of existing provisions. You are legalising to give the lash to bullies. On the Second Reading I was the individual Member who suggested that. I pointed out that the difficulty we now have is the non-administration of the law. Some judges have held that the evidence of the woman is necessary. We have heard that stipendiary magistrates and magistrates of Quarter Sessions and judges on the Bench—it has been pointed out again and again that cases have broken down because some magistrates would not send the case forward unless the woman herself gave evidence. You have nothing about that in the Bill. There is no evidence of the fact, that when the punishment of the lash has been urged, that for the last twenty-seven years there has been power given to the policeman on his beat to deal effectively with these men. I could name an ordinary police constable who, under the present law, has cleared out eight bullies 1950 from his beat, and is prepared to clear out others if need be. All honour to such a noble private constable. That was done. Why is it not done now? You are giving this extra punishment to those men; you are dealing with this traffic at the wrong end. I have fought for flogging. Let there be no mistake as to what my opinion is. I hate these bullies and procurers, and would not let the traffic come through London or any port in England, but the idea that there is an army of foreigners waiting in back streets to seduce English girls who are not aware of their own physiological conditions is absurd. There is no such thing. There are many foreigners in London, but to say that there are foreigners in mysterious offices conducting this traffic and that no one can find them out, and to say that that is the reason for prostitution is to mislead the country and to turn attention away from the real cause, which is overcrowding and so on. The real fact, as writers and social thinkers who have dealt with the subject prove beyond question, is that unless you get at the root of the question you cannot accomplish good. I thank hon. Members for listening to me. I hope the Bill will be a success, and, in concluding, I thank the hon. Member for Fareham, who has had a most difficult and painful task, and has exercised great patience and forebearance. He has won the respect of his critics and of every hon. Member. For his sake and for the sake of the country I hope the Bill will be a success; but if it turns out to be an evasion of the real evil and the root causes, the Bill, I am afraid, is to be regretted, even though it does deal incidentally with procurers and bullies.
§ Question put, and agreed to; Bill read the third time, and passed.