Prisoners serving less than a year should be allowed to vote, says Parliamentary committee
Prisoners serving sentences of 12 months or less should be given the vote, the Government is today told by an all-party parliamentary committee.
It also called for all inmates who are within six months of release to be entitled to take part in elections.
The recommendations will not be welcome in Downing Street as David Cameron has said he would feel “physically sick” if prisoners were allowed to vote.
Britain is locked in an eight-year battle with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which has ruled that the blanket ban on prisoner voting is incompatible with European law.
Ministers have drafted a Bill offering three options, including retaining the current outright ban, which is the option backed by the overwhelming majority of MPs.
But the Parliamentary Joint Committee on the Bill is urging the Government to respond to the ECHR’s pressure by drawing up plans to extend the franchise to inmates serving less thab a year behind bars.
The Tory MP Crispin Blunt, a former prisons minister, said: “We didn’t just sign up to the European Convention on Human Rights – we more or less wrote it.
“For us to fail to respect our international treaty obligations, over an issue as relatively minor as a few thousand prisoners having the right to vote, which the evidence suggests most of them wouldn’t exercise, would be a grossly disproportionate reaction.
“It would set an appalling example to other nations and undermine human rights across Europe.“
Committee members endorsed the recommendation by eight votes to three. One of the dissenters, the Tory Nick Gibb, said Parliament should be given the chance to retain the blanket ban and to consider how far the ECHR can “encroach into domestic policy”.
Last night the Ministry of Justice said MPs would get another opportunity next year to vote on the issue. A spokesman said: “We have always been clear that prisoner voting is an issue on which Parliament should decide and the joint committee report is an important contribution to this process and will help inform Parliament’s decisions.”
Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response from Ellen DeGeneres
Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
Man dies instantly after shooting firework from top of his head
Isis schoolgirl Amira Abase who fled London to join terrorists in Syria mocks victims of Tunisia massacre
Father faces deportation to Thailand after 27 years in Britain for two 'stupid crimes'
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
- 1 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response from Ellen DeGeneres
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers