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
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Paul Nuttall is like his party: sad, desperate and finished

The party hope if they can survive until March 2019, they will grow strong off disillusionment with Brexit. They may not make it until then. 

It’s a measure of how far Ukip have fallen that while Theresa May faced a grilling over her social care U-Turn and Jeremy Corbyn was called to account over his past, the opening sections of Andrew Neill’s interview with Paul Nuttall was about the question of whether or not his party has a future.

The blunt truth is that Ukip faces a battering in this election. They will be blown away in the seats they have put up a candidate in and have pre-emptively retreated from numerous contests across the country.

A party whose leader in Wales once said that climate change was “ridiculous” is now the victim of climate change itself. With Britain heading out of the European Union and Theresa May in Downing Street, it’s difficult to work out what the pressing question in public life to which Ukip is the answer.

Their quest for relevance isn’t helped by Paul Nuttall, who at times tonight cast an unwittingly comic figure. Pressing his case for Ukip’s burka ban, he said earnestly: “For [CCTV] to work, you have to see people’s faces.” It was if he had intended to pick up Nigel Farage’s old dogwhistle and instead put a kazoo to his lips.

Remarks that are, written down, offensive, just carried a stench of desperation. Nuttall’s policy prescriptions – a noun, a verb, and the most rancid comment underneath a Mail article – came across as a cry for attention. Small wonder that senior figures in Ukip expect Nuttall to face a move on his position, though they also expect that he will see off any attempt to remove him from his crown.

But despite his poor performance, Ukip might not be dead yet. There was a gleam of strategy amid the froth from Nuttall in the party’s pledge to oppose any continuing payment to Brussels as part of the Brexit deal, something that May and Corbyn have yet to rule out.

If May does manage to make it back to Downing Street on 8 June, the gap between campaign rhetoric – we’ll have the best Brexit, France will pay for it – and government policy – we’ll pay a one-off bill and continuing contributions if need be – will be fertile territory for Ukip, if they can survive as a going concern politically and financially, until March 2019.

On tonight’s performance, they’ll need a better centre-forward than Paul Nuttall if they are to make it that far. 

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

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