Labour Governments and Capital Punishment, 1924-1970

Manton, Kevin
April 2011
Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Apr2011, Vol. 76 Issue 1, p16
Academic Journal
This article examines the attitudes of Labour governments towards capital punishment. It attempts to show why Labour governments before Harold Wilson's did not abolish capital punishment. Apart from the fact that some ministers were in favour of the death penalty in principle, it will highlight how a variety of factors ensured that all Labour governments (or at least some very important ministers in those governments) before Wilson's actively campaigned to keep the death penalty. These factors included the advice of the civil service, the fear of being seen as 'soft on crime', a wariness of public opinion, and a respect for what were perceived to be the norms of constitutional practice in relation to the royal prerogative. This context makes the eventual ending of capital punishment under Wilson all the more remarkable, and the last section of this article shows how Jim Callaghan, in particular, worked assiduously to achieve abolition.


Related Articles

  • 'The Masons' Candidate': New Welcome Lodge No. 5139 and the Parliamentary Labour Party. Hamill, John; Prescott, Andrew // Labour History Review (Maney Publishing);Apr2006, Vol. 71 Issue 1, p9 

    The claim made by Herbert Morrison and Hugh Dalton that Morrison was denied the leadership of the Labour Party in the 1935 election by the votes of Labour MPs who were members of a masonic lodge to which Arthur Greenwood belonged has been repeated by several historians, but without considering...

  • Attlee, at last.  // New Statesman;7/5/2010, Vol. 139 Issue 5008, p62 

    A photograph is presented of Clement Attlee, a British Labour Party prime minister, taken on July 26, 1945.

  • Taste of the Future.  // Time;4/10/1950, Vol. 55 Issue 15, p32 

    The article reports on the first parliamentary defeat suffered by the Labor government of British Prime Minister Clement Attlee when Tory Member of Parliament (M.P.) Geoffrey Lloyd called for a vote on an earlier motion to adjourn. The call came after Lloyd has ended an attack on the gasoline...

  • Labor Program in England. GIBBONS, WILLIAM J. // America;11/24/1945, Vol. 74 Issue 8, p202 

    The article focuses on the ideals and program of the British Labor Party. According to the author, the whole history of the Labor Party, as well as its existing platform, shows that it conceives itself as fighting a battle for freedom against the last two forms of oppression mentioned by Prime...

  • The Party of Left-Wing Anti-Semitism.  // Commentary;Nov2016, Vol. 142 Issue 4, p1 

    The author discusses different sociopolitical issues surrounding the Labour Party of Great Britain, as of November 2016. It states prominent leaders who were associated with the party like Clement Atlee, and Harold Wilson, and mentions failure of the party to win a general election for a decade....

  • Labor, Then and Now. Crozier, Brian // National Review;2/16/1979, Vol. 31 Issue 7, p219 

    The article presents a discussion on communists which appeared in a memorandum addressed to British Prime Minister Clement Attlee by Foreign Secretary Ernest Bevin. It also presents the views of Ernest Bevin on Great Britain and the European movement and his support on Joshua Nkomo and Robert...

  • From Herbert Morrison to Command and Control: the Decline of Local Democracy and its Effect on Public Services. White, Jerry // History Workshop Journal;Apr2005, Vol. 59 Issue 1, p73 

    For more than fifty years English local government has come under sustained attack from governments of every political complexion. Such attacks began most importantly with Clem Attlee. They were pursued vigorously with different means under Margaret Thatcher. And they continue as a result of...

  • Wanted: A Bill of Rights.  // Time;2/24/1975, Vol. 105 Issue 8, p46 

    The article focuses on the issues about the memoirs and diaries of Richard Crossman, written during the six years that he held various jobs in the 1960s Labor Cabinet of Prime Minister Harold Wilson. It notes that Crossman, who was also an Oxford don and journalist, died in spring of 1974. It...

  • Whistle in the Dark.  // Time;3/13/1950, Vol. 55 Issue 11, p32 

    The article discusses King George VI March 1950 Speech from the Throne at the British House of Lords. The author reports that the King's speech was written by British Prime Minister Clement Atlee and conveyed the Labour Party's statement of policy for the 1950 session. The author adds that the...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics