Rishi Sunak’s controversial new deputy party chairman suggests the return of the death penalty because “nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed”.
During the prime minister’s reshuffle on Tuesday, outspoken Ashfield MP Lee Anderson was given the senior government position.
The move raised eyebrows given his history of controversial remarks, including questioning whether food bank users are truly in need and criticising England football players for kneeling in protest of racism.
Mr Anderson stated his support for the return of capital punishment in an interview with The Spectator magazine a few days before his surprise appointment.
When asked if he would support the reinstatement of the death penalty, Mr Anderson replied, “Yes.”
“Nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed, do you know? 100% success rate,” he added.
Death penalty for murder was made permanent in 1969 and then completely abolished for all crimes in 1998.
On August 13, 1964, Peter Allen and Gwynne Evans were the last people executed in the UK.
The United Kingdom has ratified the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits the reinstatement of the death penalty.
Mr Anderson, on the other hand, argued that heinous crimes committed by clearly identifiable perpetrators should be punished by execution.
He cited the 2013 assassination of Fusilier Lee Rigby by Islamist extremists Michael Adebolajo and Michael Adebowale.
Mr Anderson, a former Labour councillor before joining the Conservatives, said that while his views were criticised 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.”