Coroners and Justice Bill — Clause 45 — Sexual infidelity as a partial defence to a muder charge. — 9 Nov 2009 at 20:00

The majority of MPs agreed that sexual infidelity, sexual jealousy or envy ought not count as a "qualifying trigger" allowing a partial defence against a charge of murder on the grounds of "loss of control". Government minister, Clare Ward, explained there was a need to make this explicit in the act as some courts had found sexual infidelity was a sufficient provocation to allow murder to be reduced to manslaughter and it the government found this unacceptable.[1] Conservative opposition members Ann Widdecombe and Dominic Grieve argued the decision should be left to juries.[2]

The House of Lords had made amendment 55 which was to leave out amendment section (c) completely. [2] The original section (c), which the Lords had wanted to leave out of the bill completely stated:

The fact that a thing done or said constituted sexual infidelity is to be disregarded.
All Liberal Democrats, with the exception of Mike Hancock MP, abstained from the vote. Liberal Democrat David Howarth, MP for Cambridge, had tabled the following amendment in lieu of the Lords' amendment[3]:— (a) Page 29, line 19, leave out paragraph (c) and insert—
‘(c) where D acted principally out of a desire to punish V for any act, whether by V or by any other person, which D perceived at the time to amount to sexual infidelity, or where D acted principally out of sexual jealousy or envy, the circumstances shall not constitute “circumstances of an extremely grave character” for the purposes of subsection (4)(a).’.
It appears the Liberal Democrats abstained because they wanted an outcome not in line with either of the options on offer.

The House divided: Ayes 299, Noes 145.

  • 1. Claire Ward, House of Commons 9th November 2009
  • 2. House of Commons Debate
  • 3.
  • 4., Bill as brought from the Commons 26.03.09

    Debate in Parliament | Source |

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    Party Summary

    Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

    What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

    What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

    What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

    PartyMajority (Aye)Minority (No)BothTurnout
    Con0 135 (+2 tell)071.0%
    DUP0 1011.1%
    Independent1 3066.7%
    Lab295 (+2 tell) 0085.1%
    LDem0 124.8%
    PC0 30100.0%
    SDLP1 0033.3%
    Total:297 143271.2%

    Rebel Voters - sorted by party

    MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

    Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

    Mike HancockPortsmouth SouthLDem (front bench)both
    Richard Younger-RossTeignbridgeLDem (front bench)both

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