Michael Gove supported the death penalty. Now he’s minister for justice

The Tory minister wrote in 1998 that it was wrong to abolish hanging


Newly appointed justice secretary Michael Gove wrote an article supporting the death penalty in 1998, saying it was wrong to abolish hanging for convicted criminals.

The former Tory education secretary and chief whip’s article for the Times, where he was a journalist, was reported by the Telegraph on Sunday after his new role was revealed.

Mr Gove will be in charge of scrapping the Human Rights Act as well as running Britain’s prisons.

His piece argued a fair trial with the death penalty was more just than prison sentences set by the home office and imposed by judges.

The Times reports:

“Mr Gove wrote in 1998 that Britain was wrong to abolish hanging in the 1960s.

Banning the noose had ‘led to a corruption of our criminal justice system, the erosion of all our freedoms and has made the punishment of the innocent more likely’ as it came with the home secretary being given the power to impose wholesale tariffs, he said.

He has not repeated his stance since.

The Telegraph reports Mr Gove also wrote:

Hanging may seem barbarous, but the greater barbarity lies in the slow abandonment of our common law traditions. Were I ever alone in the dock I would not want to be arraigned before our flawed tribunals, knowing my freedom could be forfeit as a result of political pressures. I would prefer a fair trial, under the shadow of the noose.”

The incoming Tory government has pledged to replace the Human Rights Act, which enshrined the European Convention on Human Rights into UK law in 2000, which a British bill of rights.

The Act was passed under the Labour government of Tony Blair in the same year Mr Gove wrote his article about hanging.

Mr Gove recently wrote a piece in the Spectator about the importance of Christianity in the UK.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter


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