Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt said that this "further reinforces the international trend towards abolition" after Illinois became the 16th US state to abolish the death penalty.
Speaking today the Minister for North America said:
“I warmly welcome the decision by Governor Quinn in the US State of Illinois to sign legislation to abolish the death penalty in Illinois and commute the sentences of the remaining 15 inmates on death row. Illinois has now become the 16th US state to abolish the death penalty. I know this was a difficult decision for Governor Quinn and the State Legislature, but I am certain that it is the right one. I hope it will encourage those US states that retain the death penalty to follow their lead and join the growing list of US states to have approved abolition. This further reinforces the international trend towards abolition.
“The UK opposes the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle. Its use undermines human dignity, there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value, and any miscarriage of justice leading to its imposition is irreversible and irreparable. We continue to call on all countries around the world that retain the death penalty to cease its use.”