Lee Anderson has said he would support capital punishment’s return because “nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed”.
The Ashfield MP, whose new role prompted controversy given his opinions on a series of issues, told The Spectator magazine that capital punishment has a “100% success rate”.
In the aftermath on Twitter, many people were sharing a video from a 2011 episode of BBC’s Question Time where Hislop – the Private Eye editor and Have I Got News For You host – exposed the flaws in the death penalty.
Patel, who would later in her career become home secretary, made an argument about “murderers, rapists and people who have committed the most abhorrent crimes in society” re-offending once released from prison.
She said: “On that basis alone I would actually support the reintroduction of capital punishment to serve as a deterrent because I do think we do not have enough deterrents in this country for criminals.”
Hislop pointed out wrongful convictions for murder had been repeatedly exposed by Private Eye.
He said: “Large numbers of these cases have been found to be entirely wrong. And the men convicted – and a couple of women – have been found innocent.
“We would have killed those people, and in some of those very high-profile cases which involve terrorism cases, we would have made very dangerous new martyrs by executing people who turned out not to have committed the murders involved.”
After Patel began to point to the “burden of proof”, Hislop responded: “Are you saying they were guilty these people? So they would be dead.”
Patel denied she was saying they were guilty and said crime prevention was about having “strong deterrents”.
Hislop replied: “It’s not a deterrent killing the wrong people.”
The death penalty for murder in the UK was outlawed permanently in 1969, with it totally abolished for all crimes in 1998.
Anderson was handed the news position by Rishi Sunak during Tuesday’s reshuffle.
In an interview with the magazine a few days before his appointment, Anderson was asked whether he would support the return of the death penalty,
“Nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed.
“You know that, don’t you? 100% success rate.”
Anderson argued that heinous crimes — such as the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby in 2013 by Islamist extremists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale — where the perpetrators are clearly identifiable should be punished by execution.
Adebolajo was given a whole-life term and Adebowale was jailed for a minimum of 45 years for running over and stabbing the British Army soldier in south-east London in broad daylight.
Anderson told the magazine: “Now I’d be very careful on that one (the return of the death penalty) because you’ll get the certain groups saying: ‘You can never prove it’.
“Well, you can prove it if they have videoed it and are on camera – like the Lee Rigby killers.
“I mean: they should have gone, same week. I don’t want to pay for these people.”