Death Penalty

Thank you for contacting me about the UK's attitude towards the use of the death penalty.

It is the long-standing position of the UK to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. The UK acts compatibly with the European Convention on Human Rights. There has been no change of policy on this.

The UK Government receives around 8,000 mutual legal assistance requests from other countries around the world every year. These are assessed on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with the law.

The Overseas Security and Justice Assistance Guidance is the practical tool that officials use in making these decisions. This guidance identifies that there will be rare cases, where, as an exception to the general policy, and taking into account the specific circumstances, Ministers can lawfully decide that assistance should be provided in the absence of adequate assurances.

We should not forget that the crimes we are talking about involve the beheading and videoing of the beheading of dozens of innocent people by one of the most abhorrent organisations walking this earth. It would be bizarre to say that if we are unable to prosecute these crimes here, that we should not share our evidence with the US, which has the rule of law and due process, as do we in this country. This would not provide justice for the victims.

I am encouraged that the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, currently before Parliament, will make it easier for the UK to prosecute in these kinds of cases.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.