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Suffragist Outrages (Convictions)

Volume 51: debated on Monday 14 April 1913

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he can state the number of women arrested and number convicted for offences in connection with the suffragette movement in each of the years 1907 to 1912, inclusive, and for the first three months of the present year?

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply which I gave to the junior Member for Merthyr Tydvil on Monday last. As I have explained in reply to previous questions on this subject, I am not in a position to give further information. Arrests and convictions are not in ordinary course reported to the Home Office; and even in the case of persons received in prison, the connection with the suffrage agitation is not necessarily known.

Did the right hon. Gentleman not give last week the figures for 1911 and 1912 in reply to the hon. Member for Merthyr Tydvil (Mr. Keir Hardie), and therefore is it not possible to give the figures for the two or three years preceding?

No, Sir. I gave the figures so far as I was able for 1911 and 1912, and I gave reasons for saying that it would be quite impossible to give the figures for 1909.


asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is aware of the fact that Miss Margaret Llewhellin, a young girl who broke a window in the house of the chief Government Whip at Downing Street on the 27th of March last, the damage amounting to 2s. 6d., was sentenced to pay 2s. 6d. damage, £2 2s. costs, and a fine of £2, making altogether £4 4s. 6d., with the alternative of a month's imprisonment, whilst Mr. W. E. Hills, who broke a window of Lincoln's Inn House, the Women's Social and Political Union offices, the damage also amounting to 2s. 6d., was merely fined 5s., with the alternative of seven days' imprisonment; whether the cases were tried by the same magistrate; and if he will, by remission of the sentence in the case of the woman, remove the apparent inequality of treatment?

No sufficient reason for recommending a reduction of the sentence in the first-mentioned case is afforded by the fact that a lighter sentence was passed in another case of wilful damage. The amount of damage done is only one of many considerations that a magistrate takes into account in sentencing offenders of this class.

May I ask whether any instructions have been given to magistrates to discriminate against women prisoners convicted of certain offences?