MPs have voted by a majority of 384 to allow the prime minister, Theresa May, to trigger Article 51, the process which will lead to the reintroduction of the death penalty. The bill proposing the change has successfully progressed through its first reading in spite of a great deal of dissent in the House of Commons. The debate and subsequent vote were themselves the subject of controversy after an order by the Supreme Court to allow parliament a say in whether or not to set the changes in motion, with the government insisting that parliamentary permission was not required. They have repeatedly refused to confirm the cost of the court case.
Notable rebels against the passing of the bill include all SNP MPs, who claim they must respect the position of the Scottish people, as both Scotland and Northern Ireland voted against the death penalty, as well as Conservative MP Ken Clarke and 47 Labour parliamentarians who all defied a three line whip issued by Jeremy Corbyn. The official position of both the government and Labour is that the death penalty must return in accordance with the wishes of the 51.9% who voted ‘Yes’ in the advisory referendum, which had a 72.2% turnout.
Despite a number of the Pro-Death Penalty Alliance’s claims being widely discredited since the referendum in June 2016, MPs and other campaigners insist that to fail to implement the death penalty would be a betrayal of democracy. President Trump has congratulated the British people on their bold decision and insists that it will strengthen the special relationship between the UK and the US.