How Priti Patel was schooled on the death penalty by Ian Hislop live on air

A viral clip of Ian Hislop shutting down Priti Patel’s public endorsement of the death penalty has resurfaced following backlash to the new Conservative party deputy chair’s comments on the same issue.

A clip from BBC’s Question Time, recorded in 2011, depicts Private Eye editor and Have I Got News For You host Ian Hislop dissecting fellow guest Ms Patel’s argument in favour of the death penalty.

Referencing the “continuously” failing criminal justice system, Ms Patel argued that “murderers, rapists and people who have committed the most abhorrent crimes in society” would re-offend once released from prison, committing a similar calibre of crime.

“I think that’s appalling”, she argued. “And actually 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.”

Mr Hislop’s quick-witted response? “It’s not a deterrent killing the wrong people”, he said, referencing wrongful convictions.

“For 50 years Private Eye has pretty much, in most issues, exposed a miscarriage of justice and a lot of them have been murders,” Mr Hislop stated. “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,” he added.

Ms Patel later claimed that she had never been an “active supporter” of capital punishment, remarking that the previous clips had been taken “out of context”. She went as far as to claim in an interview with the Daily Mail that the footage “may have been clipped”.

Unlike the former Home Secretary, though, new Conservative deputy chair Lee Anderson MP has fully defended his support for bringing back capital punishment.

In the same week he was appointed to the role following Nadhim Zahawi’s sacking, Mr Anderson remarked that he supports the return of the death penalty because “nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed”.

In an interview with The Spectator, Mr Anderson was asked whether he backs the death penalty. “Yes. Nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed. You know that, don’t you? 100 per cent success rate”, he replied.

In response, Rishi Sunak has rejected those calls, saying: “That’s not my view – that’s not the government’s view.”

Amnesty International acknowledges that “scientists agree, by an overwhelming majority, that the death penalty has no deterrent effect” on the committal of crimes.

In the UK, the death penalty for murder was outlawed permanently in 1969 following its suspension in 1965. The last people to be executed in the UK were Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans on August 13, 1964, for the murder of John Alan West.

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