Tory deputy party chairman backs return of death penalty: 'Nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed'

9 February 2023, 00:05 | Updated: 9 February 2023, 05:26

Newly appointed deputy Conservative Party chairman Lee Anderson has said he would support the return of the death penalty as "nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed".
Newly appointed deputy Conservative Party chairman Lee Anderson has said he would support the return of the death penalty as "nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed". Picture: Alamy / Parliament TV

By Chris Samuel

Newly appointed deputy Conservative Party chairman Lee Anderson has said he would support the return of the death penalty as "nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed".

The outspoken MP for Ashfield was handed the position by PM Rishi Sunak during Tuesday's reshuffle.

The parliamentarian, who had been a Labour councillor before converting to the Conservatives, has been embroiled in a string of controversies since being elected to Westminster in 2019, having criticised food bank users and the England men's football team for taking the knee to highlight racism.

In an interview with The Spectator magazine a few days before his appointment to the senior role in the party, Mr Anderson said he would back the UK bringing back the death penalty.

He also suggested that Royal Navy frigates be used to return people arriving in small boats across the English Channel to France.

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Asked whether he would support the reintroduction of the death penalty, Mr Anderson told the magazine: "Yes.

"Nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed.

"You know that, don't you? 100% success rate."

The death penalty for murder in the UK was banned permanently in 1969, and was abolished for all crimes in 1998.

The UK is a signatory of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which prohibits the restoration of the death penalty.

Mr Anderson also suggested that Royal Navy frigates be used to return people arriving in small boats across the English Channel to France.
Mr Anderson also suggested that Royal Navy frigates be used to return people arriving in small boats across the English Channel to France. . Picture: Alamy

But Mr Anderson argued that heinous crimes - such as the murder of soldier 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 then stabbing Mr Rigby in south-east London in broad daylight.

Mr 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."

On the issue of stopping small boats from crossing the Channel, Mr Anderson said migrants arriving unlawfully in Britain should be returned to where they came from the "same day".

Lee Anderson has courted controversy for his views on the scale of food bank use in the UK.
Lee Anderson has courted controversy for his views on the scale of food bank use in the UK. Picture: Parliament TV

He claimed that during a visit to Calais last month he met migrants referring to Britain as "El Dorado".

He said: "They are seeing a country where the streets are paved with gold - where, once you land, they are not in that manky little f****** scruffy tent."

"They are going to be in a four-star hotel. And they know that Serco is buying up houses everywhere, to put them in for the next five years. Why wouldn't you come?"

Asked asked what his solution would be, he replied: "I'd send them straight back the same day.

"I'd put them on a Royal Navy frigate or whatever and sail it to Calais, have a stand-off. And they'd just stop coming."

Mr Anderson said that despite being hit with criticism for his opinions in some quarters, he found that voters often agreed with him.

"If I say something that is supposedly outrageous in that place [the Commons], I get back to Ashfield on a Thursday, people will come out the shops and say, 'You say what I'm thinking'," he added.

"Maybe some of my colleagues think I'm a little bit too divisive.

"But I'm of the mind that half the population will hate you, whatever colour you wear."

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