LibDems fight on for guarantee against death penalty

Following the House of Commons’ vote on an 30th on the Crime Bill, the Liberal Democrats have pledged to continue to fight in the House of Lords for a guarantee that evidence provided by the UK will not result in people facing the death penalty.
At Report Stage, Conservative MPs blocked a Liberal Democrat amendment that would have restored that guarantee and instead passed a weaker amendment requiring only that the Government must seek a death penalty assurance – not that they must receive one.
The Bill will now return to the House of Lords for “ping-pong”, where the Liberal Democrat peers will fight to restore a guarantee on the death penalty.
After the vote, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Ed Davey said:
“The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle.
“That is the longstanding policy of Governments of all political parties, but it’s just words unless we’re prepared to use our influence with one of our closest allies to work towards its abolition.
“The Liberal Democrats support a data-sharing agreement with the United States to allow terrorists, paedophiles and other serious criminals to be brought to justice. But any such agreement must make clear that evidence supplied by the UK will never be used to sentence anyone to death.
“If Donald Trump and his Republican Senators refuse to provide that assurance, it would be them potentially allowing criminals to go free – not the UK.
“Conservative Ministers should be standing up for fundamental British values, including our opposition to the death penalty, not cravenly submitting to Trump’s will.”
Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Home Affairs Brian Paddick said:
“When this matter returns to the House of Lords, Liberal Democrats will ensure there is a proper death penalty assurance guarantee.
“The Government’s alternative amendment to the Bill only requires the Secretary of State to seek death penalty assurances, not guarantee them.
“This means people could be executed in other countries based on evidence provided by the UK. The Government’s argument, that the US might not sign a data-sharing agreement if we insist on death penalty assurances, suggests the Government is prepared to see people lose their lives in order to secure the deal.
“The UK is a signatory to an international convention against the death penalty in all circumstances and yet this Government is prepared to send people to the electric chair. We should be upholding people’s human rights, particularly the right to life, not sacrificing people for the sake of an agreement with the United States, or any other country that still has the death penalty.”
The Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill creates a legal framework for an agreement with the United States for law enforcement agencies to share electronic data to investigate and prosecute serious crimes.
In the House of Lords, Liberal Democrat and other opposition peers passed an amendment to require that any agreement must include assurances that the death penalty will not be imposed in any case in which UK data is used. However, the Government removed that amendment at Committee Stage in the House of Commons.

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