The Conservative Government has today been defeated in the House of Lords, with peers voting for a Liberal Democrat-backed amendment that will prevent the death penalty being used in cases where the UK has provided electronic data.

The Government’s “Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill” would give courts new powers to require internet companies outside the UK to provide electronic data that law enforcement agencies need to investigate and prosecute serious crimes, but only once new international agreements have been signed.

The amendment, passed at report stage in the House of Lords today, will require those agreements to include assurances from other countries that the death penalty will not be imposed in cases where electronic data from the UK is used.

Following the debate, Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Hamwee said: 

“The death penalty is one of the greatest affronts to fundamental human rights. It is cruel, inhumane and irreversible. The UK must oppose its use anywhere in the world.

“The Home Secretary’s decision earlier this year not to seek death penalty assurances from the US undermines that opposition. If the UK is seen no longer fully to oppose the death penalty, it weakens our ability to persuade others to abolish it.

“I am therefore pleased that we have successfully amended this Bill to ensure that death penalty assurances must be part of data-sharing agreements with other countries.”

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