Priti Patel makes her first appearance on Question Time
By Joseph Willits
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A first appearance on Question Time can be a daunting experience. For Priti Patel, this would have been no exception. Last night the 'rising star' of Cameron's new intake of MPs appeared on the programme, which was severely lacking in excitement. Despite several hugely emotive issues; the Dale Farm eviction order, capital punishment, and the Palestinian statehood bid, political debate was somewhat lacklustre.
There was a point in the evening, and this morning, where Priti Patel was trending on the Twittersphere. This would have been for her comments about capital punishment, in light of Troy Davis' execution in Georgia. Patel said:
"I would actually support the reintroduction of capital punishment to serve as a deterrent, because I do think we don no't have enough deterrents in this country for criminals."
Her message was clear; capital punishment as a deterrent, yet conceded that it would only be workable with a "complete and utter burden of proof". Patel also criticised the imbalance in the argument in terms of human rights. She said:
"nobody thinks of the human rights of the families, of the victims, the people who have really suffered here"
Patel did not say whether her views on capital punishment were representative of David Cameron and the party, simply citing the e-petition on the issue and encouraging debate. On every other issue however, she maintained the party line.
Patel offered her support to Basildon Council (a neighbouring constituency of hers), saying the £18m spent on evicting the Dale Farm travellers was justified, but the general problem was a lack of sites. She said it was important for local authorities to address the issue, rather than the government, a point she reiterated with reference to the planning proposals.
She defended the government's response to the economic crisis, talking of the "disgraceful legacy" left by Labour. She said that bringing in "new jobs and new growth over night is simply not going to happen" but stressed the government commitment "to tackling issues of unemployment through initiatives such as the work programme".