Ian Hislop’s epic takedown of Priti Patel resurfaces following Lee Anderson's comments

Ian Hislop’s epic takedown of Priti Patel resurfaces following Lee Anderson's comments

Resurfaced video shows Ian Hislop shutting down Priti Patel's argument in favour of the death penalty


It should not be news to you that Private Eye editor Ian Hislop is quite the legend when it comes to shutting down Tory MPs who decide to peddle nonsensical arguments.

Previous comments have included him calling on the entire Conservative Party to resign post-Partygate, perfectly explaining why people are “entitled to go on making the argument” if you lose a political vote, and telling MPs the public are “very sick of being taken for fools” as part of a committee inquiry into lobbying rules.

Yet there’s one particular intervention from the Have I Got News For You captain which has resurfaced this week, following remarks made about the death penalty by Ashfield MP Lee Anderson, who is the new deputy chairman of the Tory party.

Yes, really.

Mr Anderson – also known by the nickname ‘30p Lee’ for past comments on foodbank users – told The Spectator he would support capital punishment making a comeback because of its “100 per cent success rate”, and because “nobody has ever committed a crime after being executed”.

Innocent people executed under the death penalty didn’t commit a crime before they were executed either, Lee.

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Appearing to address this counterargument, Mr Anderson added: “Now I’d be very careful on [the return of the death penalty] because you’ll get certain groups saying, ‘you can never prove it’.

“Well, you can prove it if they have videoed it and are on camera, like the Lee Rigby killers. I mean, they should have gone, same week. I don’t want to pay for these people.”

Which brings us back to Mr Hislop, who back in 2011 took on Priti Patel – who of course, would later become home secretary – over her support for the return of the death penalty during a recording of the BBC panel show Question Time.

He told the audience at the time: “Large numbers of these cases have been found to be entirely wrong and the men convicted – almost always men, there’s a couple of women – have been found innocent.

“So you would have killed those people, and in some of those very high-profile cases which involve terrorism cases, you would have made very dangerous new martyrs by executing people who turned out not to have committed the murders involved.

“So on a purely practical basis, whatever you think it says about the civilised nature of your society or not, I think it would be incredibly dangerous to have capital punishment back.”

Invited to respond to Mr Hislop’s remarks, Ms Patel replied: “This is really about our criminal justice system, actually. For any conviction, for example, you need absolute burden of proof, you really do…”

In a classic display of his quick wit, the journalist chipped in: “You’re saying they were guilty, all these people?”

“No, I’m not saying they were guilty. Obviously, there were ‘not guilty’ cases,” Ms Patel said.

With a concerned expression on his face, Mr Hislop pressed further: “So they’d be dead?”

Trying once again to defend her argument, the Witham MP added: “The point is, as I said earlier on, this is about having deterrents. If you have strong deterrents of that nature…”

In a quick comeback, Mr Hislop pointed out: “It’s not a deterrent killing the wrong people.”

Mic dropped, and his stance is backed by Amnesty International as well, which acknowledges “scientists agree, by an overwhelming majority, that the death penalty has no deterrent effect” on preventing crimes from being committed.

And so with Mr Anderson being the latest Tory to bang the drum for bringing back capital punishment – which was outlawed permanently in the UK back in 1969 after it was suspended four years prior – Twitter users are sharing the interaction once more:

We’re now waiting patiently for the day a Question Time episode between Lee Anderson and Ian Hislop takes place.

Make it happen, BBC.

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