Tory MP: Theresa May will have "blood on her hands" if she extradites Gary McKinnon

Conservative MP David Burrowes confirms that he will resign as a ministerial aide if McKinnon is extradited.

We'll learn from Theresa May at 12:30pm whether computer hacker Gary McKinnon will be extradited to the US to face trial, but there's already been a notable development this morning. David Burrowes, the Conservative MP for McKinnon's constituency, Enfield Southgate, has confirmed that he will resign as PPS to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson if the extradition goes ahead.

Asked by ITV's Daybreak whether he would stand down, he replied: "That is true, although the real issue today is not about my position in government but the real threat, which is that Gary will take his life if he's extradited." Significantly, Burrowes added that May would have "blood on her hands" if she approved McKinnon's extradition. Here's the full quote:

It’ll be a death sentence if, today, extradition is the answer to Gary McKinnon and that will be a death warrant to him, and that’s something which will be blood on her hands.

Given the likelihood that McKinnon, who has Asperger's syndrome, will kill himself if extradited, let's hope the government has made the right decision.

Home Secretary Theresa May will announce in the House of Commons later today whether Gary McKinnon will be extradited to the US. Photograph: Getty Images.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
Show Hide image

Who will win in Manchester Gorton?

Will Labour lose in Manchester Gorton?

The death of Gerald Kaufman will trigger a by-election in his Manchester Gorton seat, which has been Labour-held since 1935.

Coming so soon after the disappointing results in Copeland – where the seat was lost to the Tories – and Stoke – where the party lost vote share – some overly excitable commentators are talking up the possibility of an upset in the Manchester seat.

But Gorton is very different to Stoke-on-Trent and to Copeland. The Labour lead is 56 points, compared to 16.5 points in Stoke-on-Trent and 6.5 points in Copeland. (As I’ve written before and will doubtless write again, it’s much more instructive to talk about vote share rather than vote numbers in British elections. Most of the country tends to vote in the same way even if they vote at different volumes.)

That 47 per cent of the seat's residents come from a non-white background and that the Labour party holds every council seat in the constituency only adds to the party's strong position here. 

But that doesn’t mean that there is no interest to be had in the contest at all. That the seat voted heavily to remain in the European Union – around 65 per cent according to Chris Hanretty’s estimates – will provide a glimmer of hope to the Liberal Democrats that they can finish a strong second, as they did consistently from 1992 to 2010, before slumping to fifth in 2015.

How they do in second place will inform how jittery Labour MPs with smaller majorities and a history of Liberal Democrat activity are about Labour’s embrace of Brexit.

They also have a narrow chance of becoming competitive should Labour’s selection turn acrimonious. The seat has been in special measures since 2004, which means the selection will be run by the party’s national executive committee, though several local candidates are tipped to run, with Afzal Khan,  a local MEP, and Julie Reid, a local councillor, both expected to run for the vacant seats.

It’s highly unlikely but if the selection occurs in a way that irritates the local party or provokes serious local in-fighting, you can just about see how the Liberal Democrats give everyone a surprise. But it’s about as likely as the United States men landing on Mars any time soon – plausible, but far-fetched. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.