Why didn’t the reforming Labour government of 1945-51 abolish the death penalty?

Event Details
Date: , 2022
Time: to
Location: Studio 1 on Level 1
Venue: M Shed, BS1 4RN
Price: Free
With: Lizzie Seal
Series: Bristol Radical History Festival 2022
Page Details
Sydney Silverman, 1964, Parliamentary Archives, PUD/14/717

Individual Labour MPs such as Sidney Silverman were significant to campaigning for abolition of the death penalty in Britain and the Labour Party was more hospitable to the idea of abolition than the Conservatives. Nevertheless, despite passing the reformist Criminal Justice Act in 1948 the Labour Government was opposed to abolishing the death penalty, which did not happen in Britain until 1965.

This talk will explore why the death penalty was not abolished in 1948. It will also examine how public feeling about capital punishment in Britain shifted after the Second World War, when the death penalty became a more widely debated and more emotional issue.

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