Minimum number of inmates to have vote, says No 10 - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

Minimum number of inmates to have vote, says No 10

Downing Street has insisted the "minimum number" of prisoners will be given the vote amid signs of a Government U-turn on the controversial issue.









Speculation has been growing that ministers are preparing to back down over plans to give the vote to all inmates serving less than four years after a backbench revolt in the House of Commons. The cut-off point could be reduced to sentences of 12 months or less.



David Cameron has said the idea of giving prisoners the vote makes him "physically ill", but the European Court of Human Rights found that the 140-year-old blanket ban was unlawful.



Failure to comply could cost tens of millions of pounds in legal costs and compensation, ministers warned. Some 2,500 inmates already have cases in motion.



But the prospect of granting the vote to more than 28,000 prisoners - including 6,000 violent offenders, 1,700 convicted of sex crimes and more than 4,000 burglars - sparked fury on Conservative backbenches when the four-year cut-off was floated last month.



Angry MPs will have a chance to revolt against the proposal in a few weeks' time, after Labour's former justice secretary Jack Straw and senior Tory David Davis secured a Commons vote on the issue.



Cutting the maximum sentence under which prisoners can retain the right to vote to one year may see off a potentially embarrassing rebellion.



But it is almost certain to be tested in the courts, with the Government far from certain of victory.



The Prime Minister's spokesman declined to say whether a one-year maximum sentence was under consideration.



He told reporters: "Our intention is to ensure that the minimum number of prisoners get the vote.



"At the same time, because this is an issue that has been sitting there for a number of years and hasn't been resolved, we have a backlog of compensation claims by prisoners. Clearly we can't ignore that and the possible costs associated with it.



"What the number should be - whether it is four years or some other figure - is essentially a matter of legal advice."



The spokesman declined to reveal whether the Prime Minister had sought fresh legal advice since the proposal for a four-year cut-off point was first announced.



"Clearly, the statements that have been made by the Government have reflected the legal advice that we have had," he said.



A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "Removing the blanket ban on prisoners voting is not a choice but a legal obligation as a result of a court ruling.



"Failure to implement the ruling would not only put the Government in breach of its international obligations but risk paying out taxpayers' money in compensation claims.



"The Government will do the absolute minimum to meet its obligations and will ensure that the most serious offenders are barred from voting."



Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said: "I am pleased that this Government has undertaken this U-turn.



"The Government should be standing up for the victims of crime but instead they are slashing police numbers and giving dangerous convicted prisoners the vote.



"I hope for all our sakes this is the first of many U-turns."

News
Paper trail: the wedding photograph found in the rubble after 9/11 – it took Elizabeth Keefe 13 years to find the people in it
newsWho are the people in this photo? It took Elizabeth Stringer Keefe 13 years to find out
Arts and Entertainment
Evil eye: Douglas Adams in 'mad genius' pose
booksNew biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Sport
FootballFull debuts don't come much more stylish than those on show here
News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Kim Kardashian drawn backlash over her sexy swimsuit selfie, called 'disgusting' and 'nasty'
fashionCritics say magazine only pays attention to fashion trends among rich, white women
Arts and Entertainment
TVShows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Arts and Entertainment
Hit the roof: hot-tub cinema east London
architectureFrom pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
Travel
travel
News
The ecological reconstruction of Ikrandraco avatar is shown in this illustration courtesy of Chuang Zhao. Scientists on September 11, 2014 announced the discovery of fossils in China of a type of flying reptile called a pterosaur that lived 120 millions years ago and so closely resembled those creatures from the 2009 film, Avatar that they named it after them.
SCIENCE
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Matisse: The Cut-Outs exhibition attracted 562,000 visitors to the Tate Modern from April to September
art
Life and Style
Models walk the runway at the Tom Ford show during London Fashion Week Spring Summer 2015
fashionLondon Fashion Week 2014
News
Kenny G
news
News
peopleThe black actress has claimed police mistook her for a prostitute when she kissed her white husband
Life and Style
techIndian model comes with cricket scores baked in
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Energy Markets Analyst

£400000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Energy Markets An...

Junior Web Analyst – West Sussex – Up to £35k DOE

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Plus excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions...

Nursery Manager

£22000 - £23000 per annum: Randstad Education Bristol: We are currently recrui...

Web Analyst – Permanent – Up to £40k - London

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week