A majority of Britons back the restoration of the death penalty, according to a survey out Sunday, as a petition looks likely to force lawmakers to debate the issue.

In a Survation poll for The Mail on Sunday newspaper, 53 percent said they wanted capital punishment back, with 34 percent opposed.

While 63 percent of men back the move, only 44 percent of women are in favour.

Survation interviewed 1,000 people on Friday and Saturday.

When asked which method should be used, 66 percent opted for lethal injection, with 12 percent calling for hanging, five percent for the electric chair and four percent for a firing squad.

Mass murder, child murder, terrorism and war crimes were deemed the main offences deserving the death penalty.

Britain's last hangings were in 1964 and capital punishment was abolished for murder in 1969.

Members of parliament last debated the issue in 1998, but it has come to the fore again after the government launched its e-petitions website, where petitions gathering 100,000 signatures could be debated in the lower House of Commons.

More than 40 of the first 200 petitions called for the death penalty.

Damian Lyons Lowe, from Survation, said: "These results clearly show that while it is an emotive and divisive issue with differences along gender and party lines, the public clearly remains in favour of capital punishment for serious crime."