Death penalty would not prevent another Huntley says MP

Ian Huntley Image copyright PA
Image caption MP Martin Vickers argues that Ian Huntley should never be eligible for parole

The MP whose constituency was home to the child killer Ian Huntley has said he must never be released from prison.

The Conservative MP for Cleethorpes, Martin Vickers, was speaking ahead of the 10-year anniversary of the Soham murders.

However, Mr Vickers said he did not support the return of the death penalty.

Speaking to BBC Look North, Martin Vickers said: "I do believe that people like Huntley should be in jail for life and it should be a spartan regime while they are there.

"In regards to the death penalty, my fear is that if we have juries that are making decisions over life and death it will make them more reluctant to convict and there will be more dangerous murderers on the streets than there are now."

Systems of justice

Ian Huntley is serving a life sentence for the 2002 murders of Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, who were both 10 years old.

In 2005, a High Court judge ordered that Huntley must serve at least 40 years in prison.

Although there is little chance of capital punishment being restored in the UK - it is currently illegal under EU law - a number of MPs still support the death penalty.

Conservative MP Philip Davies recently travelled to Florida, where 73 people have been executed since the death penalty was reintroduced in the US state in 1979.

Lethal injection is now the main method of execution in the 'Sunshine State'.

Speaking to BBC Sunday Politics on his visit to the USA, Mr Davies said: "I am confident this is the right system of justice.

"When the backlash does come, it is not inconceivable that the UK does decide to bring back the death penalty."

Recent online petitions have called for the return of the death penalty, but there are currently no plans to debate the subject in Parliament.

MPs voted to suspend capital punishment in 1965 and it was abolished altogether for most crimes in 1969.

Various attempts to restore the death penalty in subsequent years have been defeated in the House of Commons.