GREAT BRITAIN: The Gallows Must Go

Only on rare occasions do members of the House of Commons get to vote freely on matters of personal conviction, instead of on instruction of party whips. Last week was such an occasion, and the question was one that weighed heavily on many a member's conscience: capital punishment. By a vote of 293 to 262 (four dozen Tories rejecting the stand of Anthony Eden's Cabinet), the House voted to abolish the death penalty for murder.

Hanging is an old Anglo-Saxon custom. In the 13th century, punishment by death, in forms varying from the headsman's ax to the witch's pyre, was imposed...

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