Britain e-votes for death penalty reversion

The British Parliament may be the scene of debates over restoring the death penalty, banned since 1964, after reinstating capital punishment became the most popular e-petition on a new government website.

­Death penalty discussions come after a new government’s e-petition website was launched to let people vote for or against cornerstones of UK society. In case an e-petition gains more than 100,000 signatures, it should be considered for parliamentary discussion.

The petition to implement the death penalty for murderers of children and policemen tops the list as the petition on the website that garnered the most votes, and is now likely to enter the hearings in the House of Commons.

The e-petition scheme has already been criticized, as it may allow special interest groups to push their causes up the parliamentary agenda. Moreover, the petitions may mean MPs spending precious parliamentary time debating proposals which have little or no chance of becoming law.

Restoration of capital punishment in UK was rejected in 1997 by 158 votes, and that was the last time the issue was debated. Now, being pushed in a new discussion, the MPs may come up with another decision. Otherwise the politicians will be forced to explain the reasons for their denial.

Meanwhile, the advocates of the system insist it allows new opportunities for citizens to be involved in the real democratic ruling of the country.

Maya Foa, an investigator for the Stop the Lethal Injections Project, believes that these death penalty debates are more like a political tool, rather than an indication of the general view of Britain’s society on law and order.

“People may be dissatisfied with law and order in Britain, but that should prompt them to be furthermore against the death penalty, rather than for it,” she said. “Because it just shows that the system is fallible, and the fallible system can’t have measures that are irreparable.”