Capital Punishment - part 3

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Capital Punishment - part 3

Ll.G.

Useful to announce, in 2nd. Rdg. debate, how many days wd. be
x| allowed for remaining stages.
Don't propose to give drafting help with amendments – by "opponents".

P.M.

Did I not promise "technical" help – on 23/2.

Ll.G.

That wd. be met by getting Bill into proper shape before it goes to H/Lds.

R.A.B.

Most abolitionists will support Bill : looks as tho' it will pass with lesser majority.
Are Ministers to be free to abstain on this Bill?
In Cttee. strong case for Govt. taking over or at least [making it clear we won't have wrecking amendments.]  Otherwise it will encroach too much on our p'mme of legn.
If we must bow to abolitionists, do it quickly.

S.

But Bill will be defeated in H/L.  Better therefore for Govt. to take as little responsibility for it in H/C. as possible.
My own view, v. narrowly, favours retention.  I wd. say that in H/L., but allow completely free vote.
Wd. be consistent with that if Govt. left this freely to H/C.

K.

Yes : Govt. in H/C. shd. not go beyond [  ].

Ll.G.

Serious amendments – e.g. exemptg. murders of warders & police.  Also N.I. Govt., who think it their business, want to be exempt fr. Bill.

K.

Our good faith shdn't be impugned  : we shdn't be thght to have countenanced wrecking amendments.  Ques turns on what is a wreckg. amendment.

S.

Ques of conscience – but on both sides.

B.H.

It is for Chair to decide what is wreckg. amendment – for it shd. not be called.

E.H.

x/ wd. be a mistake.  Wd. invite delaying amendments.
Bill will pass unless Labour M.P.'s abstain.
Apart from merits – this Bill has become pol. embarrassmt. to Govt.  If this were made plain by Ministers voting unitedly against it, some abolitionists on our side wd. come round & vote v. it.

R.A.B.

Want Ll.G. in Cttee. to indicate tht. we mean to get this Bill out of the way.  We must therefore see that it's business-like procdg.

H.A.

I favour abolition, but not because of conscience.  I am re-considerg. my position.  I may be able to vote v. the Bill.

A.L.B.

Bill cd. not be extended to Colonies – we shd. have to resist that., win with Whips if necessary.

Taken from C.M. 20(56) - Meeting held on 8 March 1956.