Some prisoners ‘to be allowed to vote’ after 12-year human rights battle with EU

  • Posted at: 08 Nov, 2017, in Other

NEWS DESK: It has been reported that the UK government is to allow some prisoners to vote following a 12-year wrangle with European judges, reported The Independent.Prisoners sentenced to less than a year in jail and who are let out on day release will be allowed to return home under proposals tabled by Justice Secretary David Lidington, according to The Sunday Times.The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg has repeatedly ruled the UK’s current blanket ban breaches prisoners’ human rights.Mr Lidington was reported to have circulated his plans among other ministers last week in a move that risks incurring the wrath of Conservative MPs.Tory MP Peter Bone told the newspaper: “I’m not in favour of letting prisoners vote. I find it extraordinary. It’s a bonkers decision. I think a lot of MPs will be concerned about this.”Former prime minister David Cameron once said the thought of prisoners being given the vote made him feel “physically sick”.Under the proposal, convicts who are allowed out to attend rehabilitation courses and perform community service will be able to vote if they are still on the electoral roll.People drop off the electoral roll after 12 months and prisoners will not be allowed to rejoin it while in custody, so those sentenced to longer than a year will remain unable to vote.The plans are expected to affect “hundreds” of prisoners.A Government spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on speculation. Our policy on prisoner voting is well established – it remains a matter for the UK to determine, and offenders in prison cannot vote.”The UK has previously been warned by ECHR that banning all prisoners from voting was in breach of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human rights, which guarantees the right of a free election.But European judges said the government did not have to pay compensation to thousands of prisoners whose who took their case to the court.Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott said Labour would support moves to give prisoners voting rights.“The European Court of Human Rights has been saying for some years that we can’t stop some prisoners having the vote and the Labour Party believes that we should indeed… support the European Court of Human Rights,” she told The Andrew Marr Show.She added: “I think abiding by the European Court of Human rights, whether we’re in the EU or not… is very much a tenet of the type of socialism I believe in.”


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