A third of Tory MPs support the reintroduction of capital punishment in the UK, Yahoo News can reveal.
An exclusive poll of MPs carried out by YouGov found that 18% of Conservative MPs strongly support bringing back the death penalty and 13% somewhat support doing so.
The poll has shocked activists, who have condemned MPs for “hankering after the return of a grotesque and cold-blooded ritual”.
Not a single Labour MP said they support bringing back capital punishment.
In November, Conservative MP John Hayes urged the Government to consider bringing back hanging for perpetrators of violent crimes in response to the Westminster Bridge attacked carried out by Khalid Masood.
Mr Hayes said the option “should be available to the courts” in cases such as Masood’s, and it would have been “appropriate” to hang him if he had survived the attack.
Amnesty International condemned the MPs who support the reintroduction of the death penalty.
Commenting on the poll, Kate Allen, Amnesty International UK’s Director, told Yahoo: “The vast majority of countries in the world have stopped using the death penalty in recognition of its cruelty and the ever-present danger of miscarriages of justice.
“We would urge any MP still hankering after a return of the grotesque ritual of cold-bloodedly condemning people to be hanged to consult our latest global report on the death penalty.
“It shows in case after case how people around the world are still being sentenced to death arbitrarily, after unfair trials - sometimes involving false confessions - and even for political reasons.
“Do we really want the UK to join China, Saudi Arabia and Iran in the dwindling band of countries that still execute their citizens?
“The death penalty is a cruel relic of the past and there should be no place for it in the modern world.”
The last execution in the UK took place in 1964 when Gwynne Evans and Peter Allen were hanged for murder.
The Government’s policy is to oppose the reintroduction of the death penalty.
The most recent official briefing paper, published in 2015, says: “It is the longstanding policy of the UK to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle.
“There is a growing international momentum towards abolition of the death penalty - in the past two decades we have seen a significant rise in the number of countries becoming abolitionist, and we are keen to see this trend continue.”
YouGov’s most recent poll of the public, carried out in 2014, found 45% of Brits support the reintroduction of the death penalty.