Typed Letter Signed ('Sydney Silverman') from Labour Party Member of Parliament Samuel Sydney Silverman to Lord Chorley, discussing what action to take if the Death Penalty Abolition Bill passes its third reading in the House of Commons.

Samuel Sydney Silverman (1895-1968), Labour politician and opponent of capital punishment [Robert Samuel Theodore Chorley (1895-1978), 1st Baron Chorley, legal scholar and Labour politician]
Publication details: 
On House of Commons letterhead. 4 June 1956.
SKU: 12389

1p., 4to. 14 lines of text. Good, on lightly-aged paper. Addressed in manuscript to 'Dear Chorley'. Silverman has been 'considering the position which will arise on the assumption which I think we may now make with some confidence that the Death Penalty Abolition Bill will soon pass its third reading in the House of Commons'. He has had a number of letters of support from the House of Lords, 'in particular from Astor and Templewood'. He has suggested to Lord Astor that he and Chorley 'together might make yourselves responsible for calling a meeting of members of the House of Lords who are in support of the Bill to consider how best the matter should be handled in their Lordships' House'. He hopes Chorley will agree, and offers to 'attend such a meeting if that is thought advisable'. According to his entry in the Oxford DNB, Silverman 'will be remembered principally for his long campaign for the abolition of the death penalty [...] Silverman, at a second attempt, introduced a private member's bill for abolition in 1956. After obtaining a second reading in the House of Commons, it was defeated in the Lords. Feeling outside the house ran so high that the home secretary, R. A. Butler, introduced and negotiated through both houses a compromise bill which distinguished between capital and non-capital murder.' In 1965 Silverman was finally successful in introducing the Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Bill through Parliament, abolishing capital punishment for murder in Britain for a period of five years. It was permanently abolished by affirmative resolutions of both Houses of Parliament in 1969. From the Chorley papers.