Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner, is supporting calls for a full debate in Parliament about whether the death penalty should be re-introduced for those who kill children or policemen acting in the line of duty.
The issue is being raised in advance of the launch of a Government petition website designed to give parliamentary time to matters that the public want to be raised. Leading political blogger Paul Staines (who writes as Guido Fawkes) will launch a campaign at the end of this week calling for a review of all existing treaties which prevents the death penalty being used in the UK, followed by a full debate and vote in Parliament.
The Conservative manifesto in 2010 set out plans to enable the public to initiate proceedings in Parliament. This was taken forward in the Coalition Agreement between the Conservative and Liberal Democrats, which confirmed that petitions securing 100,000 signatures would be eligible for debate in the House of Commons. The topics for debate will be selected by the Backbench Business Committee.
Mr Turner said :
“My instinct is that some crimes are so horrific that the proper punishment is the death penalty. A few people commit acts so evil they are beyond understanding, for example Ian Brady, the Moors Murderer, Roy Whiting who abducted and killed 8 year old Sarah Payne and, more recently, those who tortured and were then responsible for the death of Baby P, Peter Connolly.
“Like many people I have concerns about the possibility of wrongful convictions, so perhaps we should consider whether before a death sentence could be passed, a higher standard of evidence would be needed than ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ which is used to secure a criminal conviction. Some people have suggested that there should be proof ‘beyond the shadow of a doubt’ before a death sentence could be passed.
“I have put up a short survey on my own website www.islandmp.org so that Islanders can let me know their views. I think it is high time that this issue is debated. Since my election 10 years ago a great many Islanders have raised this issue with me – but we have never debated the subject in Parliament. I welcome this new petitions initiative which will enable people to have some input into the work that Parliament does.”
The full text of the petition reads:
We petition the 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.
The findings of the review and the necessary substantive legislation to be presented to House of Commons for debate no later than 12 months after this petition passes the acceptance threshold.
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