The York Tories’ Twitter account has retweeted a tweet which appears to support the reintroduction of the death penalty in the UK. The original tweet, from Tom Seston, the York Tories’ Publicity and Social Media Officer, read “We could also reintroduce capital punishment once we leave.”
Seston’s tweet itself was quoting an article from Buzzfeed senior political correspondent Emily Ashton, in which Conservative MEP David Campbell Bannerman suggests that Remainers should be prosecuted under the Treason Act for “undermining the UK by displaying extreme EU loyalty”. Seston then used this as a springboard for his proposal regarding the UK law on capital punishment, accompanying his tweet with an emoticon featuring a thinking face. A tweet from Seston’s account an hour prior also said that the UK will be able to reintroduce capital punishment post-Brexit.
This follows a report from the Telegraph on Monday that Home Secretary Sajid Javid had dropped the UK’s opposition to the death penalty to allow two Isis fighters to be sent to the US. In a memo seen by the Telegraph, Mr Javid told US Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he would not seek assurances that the death penalty would not be an option, saying “I am of the view that there are strong reasons for not requiring a death penalty assurance in this specific case, so no such assurances will be sought.” Mr Javid did follow this by stating that this does not constitute a change of policy by the UK government.
The York Tories commented to Nouse: “The York Tories debates and discusses a wide range of issues that are prevalent amongst the public. While we as a society do not advocate for/against political issues we do openly discuss many such issues. As for capital punishment, there is still large public support for a return of capital punishment for heinous crimes as polling suggest. The society as a whole will discuss and the debate the issue as a matter of course; some members are in favour, some are against. We believe this debate and discussion on issues is what political societies should be about. York Tories as a society will discuss and debate issues such as this but leaves it to our members to make their own minds up.
“We know how quiet student newspapers can be over the summer and how bored you must be. Thank you for the media interest. Silly season is truly upon us.”
In a personal statement, Seston also said: “The debate around capital punishment has been going on for over 50 years. Public support for capital punishment has dropped but hovers around the 45 – 50 per cent mark. It is my personal belief that for treason and heinous crimes the death penalty should be looked at. Our legal system quite happy to hand out whole life sentences for criminals who we deem cannot be rehabilitated. Will capital punishment be reintroduced, probably not. Should we silence all debate on it because people get triggered, definitely not.
“Unlike other political societies York Tories don’t shy away from certain debating issues. As for the media interest in these tweets, I would like to highlight that people get triggered far too easily. You have your view; I have mine. Let’s debate the issue. If you think I’m wrong, persuade me. Don’t shout me down for having the opinion. But I suppose there ain’t no rest for the triggered.”