David Davis, the newly appointed shadow Home Secretary, has used his first newspaper interview in his new role to call for a return to the death penalty.
He believes that execution by lethal injection, or whatever method is judged to be most humane way to kill, should be used against cold-blooded serial killers such as the Yorkshire lorry driver, Peter Sutcliffe, or the Moors murderer Ian Brady.
His views are in notable contrast to those of the Conservative leader, Michael Howard, who advocated the death penalty 20 years ago, but changed his mind after a series of cases in which it was found that people had been wrongly convicted of murder.
Mr Howard has since voted repeatedly against a return to hanging.
Mr Davis told The Sunday Telegraph: "I would bring back capital punishment for serial murderers.
"It is not a crime of passion. It is clearly premeditated and cold blooded.
"It would include cases such as the Yorkshire Ripper and the Moors Murders. The reason why people are against the death penalty very often is because of the risk of getting it wrong. With serial murders, that is unlikely to happen," Mr Davis added.
Last night, Conservative Central Office emphasised that Mr Davis was expressing a personal view, not stating party policy.
The Commons has traditionally held free votes on the death penalty, though no Labour MP has supported it since 1979.