Hangmans noose
YouGov poll shows significant minority of Londoners support death penaltyFlickr/ Creative Common

Sentencing to death terrorist killers is supported by nearly one in two Londoners, a poll has found.

More people support the death penalty than oppose it in the capital city, a YouGov survey for the Standard has found.

Overall, 49% of respondents were in favour of capital punishment for terrorists, compared to 42% who opposed it.

The findings come in the wake of terror outrages in Paris, where 17 people were killed in attacks this month. In Britain, the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in 2013 shocked the nation, with his killers jailed for life with no prospect of being released.

Public support for the death penalty is not new and is regularly cited as an argument against populism or 'rule-by-referendum' in public life. Capital punishment was abolished in the UK in 1965.

The new poll findings could push the topic back up the public agenda, amid tensions over attacks by so-called "lone wolf" terrorists and warnings by security experts that further atrocities on British soil are "inevitable." Tory MP Nick De Bois called for a "debate" on the issue of restarting executions.

Opponents of the death penalty claim it would not be a deterrent, especially to terrorists not expecting to survive attacks they carry out. Dominic Raab MP said restoration would be a "propaganda coup" for terrorists.

Under the Human Rights Act, bringing back judicial executions would be unlawful in Britain. But Home Secretary Theresa May has previously raised the possibility of the UK dropping the Act in favour of a new Bill of Rights.

The Howard League for Penal Reform opposes on principle capital punishment. Chief executive Frances Crook said: "Too much current penal and criminal justice policy continues to be based on the concept of vengeance and punishment disguised as justice."

According to the YouGov survey, support for the death penalty is not confined to older people, with more than a third of 18-24 year-olds (38%) in favour.