An outspoken politician has stirred up controversy after he made calls to “bring back the rope”.

Belmont Independent Councillor David Pickles, who is also UK Independence Party (UKIP) parliamentary candidate for Sutton and Cheam, thinks fear of the death penalty would tackle crime.

Coun Pickles also wants to bring back National Service and bring back punishment using the cane in schools.

Rapists, paedophiles, terrorists and anyone who committed a pre-meditated murder would be sentenced to death under Coun Pickles’ rules and families would be invited to witness the execution.

He said: “We should bring back the rope – people are fed up with rising crime rates but unless we get really tough, nothing will change.

“With DNA evidence you can be 100 per cent sure who committed a crime.”

Coun Pickles’ decision to run for Parliament is the seventh political manoeuvre he has made in the last three years, after he left local politics, then rejoined, then switched between Conservative, Independent and UKIP parties.

John Cosgrove, whose mother Maureen Cosgrove, 65, was strangled in March by George Maben, 45, in her Carshalton Beeches home, said last year he would have argued against the death penalty, but since his mother’s murder he has changed his mind.

He said: “When there’s very strong DNA evidence and CCTV footage, the death penalty could be justified and there is an argument for bringing it back.”

But Liberal Democrat MP Paul Burstow disagreed.

He said: “We can never be absolutely certain the person that we condemn to death is guilty.

“Capital punishment is not a deterrent. We need to increase the fear of being caught.”

Conservative parliamentary candidate for Sutton and Cheam, Philippa Stroud, said: “If we are serious about tacking crime we need to be serious about tackling the causes of crime.

“We should get drugs off our streets, address our drinking culture, provide real education opportunities and support struggling families.”

Chairman of governors at Robin Hood Junior School and vice chairman of governors at Tweeddale Primary School Andrew Theobold said the use of cane in schools was tantamount to assault.

He said: “Plus, I’ve never met a teacher who would be prepared to use the cane.”

CASE STUDY: Lee Page, 35, has been in prison 19 times and served a total of seven years behind bars for shoplifting and a string of burglaries.

But Mr Page turned his life around after he was released from prison in 2004 and is now a support co-ordinator helping other ex-offenders at Eco-Actif in Sutton.

Mr Page is against the death penalty and thinks offenders should be given the chance to reform.

He said: “The majority of convicted murderers should stay locked up but some people can reform.

“I met several people in prison who would have been sentenced to death under Coun Pickles’ rules and they were decent people.

“If we brought back the death penalty, we would be just as bad and guilty as the murderers themselves.”

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