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