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British MPs may debate death penalty reintroduction

Capital punishment debate petition has been generating support online, but needs 100,000 signatures before being considered for House of Commons debate.

Image: PA/PA Wire

BRITISH MPS could debate the reintroduction of the death penalty, according to a new e-petition scheme which allows people to suggest issues they want to see discussed at the House of Commons. The first of the scheme’s submissions are being publicly published today.

The BBC reports that Conservative MP Andrew Turner says he is backing the death penalty debate proposal by Guido Fawkes blogger Paul Staines. Turner says he believes that capital punishment is the “proper punishment” for some crimes.

Blogger Staines is calling on the British government “to review all treaties and international commitments which may inhibit the ability of parliament to restore capital punishment.”

Following this review, the Ministry of Justice should map out the necessary legislative steps which will be required to restore the death penalty for the murder of children and police officers when killed in the line of duty.

Commons leader Sir George Young, who is overseeing the petition scheme, says that any which generates 100,000 signatures will be considered by a committee of back-bench MPs, who will then decide if it should go forward for debate in the Commons chamber. Young writes in the Daily Mail that it would not be right for parliament to ignore issues which have popular support.

Britain’s last execution was in 1964 and was effectively abolished the following year, the Guardian reports.

Amnesty International, which says that tw0-thirds of the world’s countries have banned the death penalty in either practice or law, has criticised proposals to reopen a debate on the issue in Britain. The organisation described capital punishment as a “cruel relic of the past”. It says there is too much risk of someone innocent being executed before new information comes to light and pointed to known miscarriages of justice such as the Birmingham Six.

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