Priti Patel finally changes her mind on the death penalty

Written by David Singleton on 14 September 2016 in Diary

U-turn comes five years after awkward TV clash with Ian Hislop

Five years ago Priti Patel was a strong supporter of the death penalty, arguing on TV that it would “act as a deterrent”. Even if innocent people were killed.

More recently, the Tory MP has risen up the Westminster ranks - and wriggled out of saying whether she still wants to see a return to the gallows. In 2015 she ducked the question on Sky News by arguing that “it is not something that is relevant to today's political debate or discourse at all”.

But during a grilling by MPs today the new international development secretary insisted she no longer held the highly controversial view.

Patel was being quizzed by the Commons international development committee about her approach to the new job, in which she is responsible for allocation £12billion of taxpayers’ cash to foreign countries – including some which still execute criminals.

After repeated attempts to clarify whether she still backed capital punishment, Patel finally gave a straight answer.

“The answer is no, I have made that very clear,” she insisted, arguing she had raised human rights issues - including the use of the death penalty - abroad.

Elsewhere during the select committee hearing, Patel also revealed that she no longer believed her department should be abolished.

Back in 2011, Patel clearly supported the death penalty on Question Time – while also acknowledging that innocent people had been killed.

She insisted: “I do think that when we have a criminal justice system that continuously fails in the country and where we have seen murderers and rapists … reoffend and do those crimes again and again I think that’s appalling.

"On that basis alone I would support the reintroduction of capital punishment to serve as a deterrent.”





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