A Liberal Democrat amendment which would have prohibited UK authorities sharing data with overseas agencies where the death penalty could be imposed was rejected by the Conservatives today.
Speaking in the House of Lords, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson in the Lords Brian Paddick accused the Conservative Government of being "prepared to sacrifice people to the electric chair in America if that is what it takes to secure the kind of agreement this Bill covers.”
The amendment to the Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill was defeated in the House of Lords by just 19 votes.
Speaking after the vote, Lord Paddick added:
"The UK has long been committed to eradicating the death penalty wherever it exists in the world. An important part of that commitment is that we only help other countries to prosecute criminals if we have assurances that the death penalty will not be used.
“It is disappointing to see less than half of Labour peers join us in opposing the Government on an issue which could see people being executed as a result of the UK sharing data. The Liberal Democrats are clear that we will continue to fight to keep the UK’s commitment to fundamental human rights.”
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.
Later 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.