Home Secretary Priti Patel told The Daily Mail she had never been an “active supporter” of capital punishment. She also said that her words were “constantly taken out of context” and that a quote from BBC Question Time “may have been clipped” to change the way it was “presented.”
Priti Patel said on Question Time in September 2011: “I do actually think when we have a criminal justice system that continuously fails in this country and where we have seen murderers, rapists and people who have committed the most abhorrent crimes in society, go into prison and then are released from prison to go out into the community to then re-offend and do the types of crime they have committed again and again.
“I think that’s appalling. 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.”
I put Priti Patel’s claim that her words may have clipped to the BBC press office. A spokesperson said that while clips are sometimes edited for legal or timing reasons, “we don’t recognise that being the case in this instance with Priti Patel.”
In 2006, Patel was also quoted in The Mail on Sunday saying: “If you had the ultimate punishment for the murder of policemen and other heinous crimes, I am sure it would act as a deterrent. We must send a clear signal to people that crime doesn’t pay. The punishment must fit the crime and yes, I do support capital punishment.”
The Home Secretary’s claim is a brazen lie. Her denial seems to rest on the claim that she wasn’t an “active supporter.” A passive supporter of capital punishment is unlikely to go on to national television and argue for its reintroduction. Note further she began her remarks on Question Time by saying: “I've said this before and I'll say it again.”
Her suggestion that her words “may have been clipped” or “taken out of context” was also misleading, as the BBC press office made clear when I spoke to them.