MP has ‘open mind’ about death penalty

LAGAN Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson has responded to calls for a Parliamentary debate on the re-introduction of capital punishment, saying that he has an “open mind” on the issue and is keen to hear all sides of the debate.

LAGAN Valley MP Jeffrey Donaldson has responded to calls for a Parliamentary debate on the re-introduction of capital punishment, saying that he has an “open mind” on the issue and is keen to hear all sides of the debate.

The issue of the death penalty, which was abolished in Great Britain over forty years ago, has risen after the government launched a new online petition system, which allows people to start and support petitions on any issue they would like to see debated in Parliament.

The most popular of the e-petitions currently on the system is about the re-introduction of the death penalty.

Mr Donaldson, quoting the DUP position on the matter, said the party would support in principle the death penalty for terrorist related murder.

“It is the DUP’s position that we would support in principle the death penalty for terrorist related murder but recognise there are issues around ensuring there are significant safeguards in the judicial system to avoid miscarriages of justice and would want to examine the arguments in such a debate and to listen to whatever people have to say,” he said.

“It has been 30 years since Parliament had a serious debate about capital punishment and a lot has changed in that time. Terrorism has become much more sophisticated and deadly and we feel there should at least be a debate about the re-introduction of capital punishment.

“That said, I have an open mind on this issue as I realise it is a very emotive subject and I realise that people have very strong views,” concluded Mr Donaldson. “The very least we should do is debate the issue and we will listen to all arguments before reaching a final position.”