Parliament to consider giving prisoners votes as European ruling deadline looms

 

Parliament will be given another say on whether to give prisoners the vote as the deadline for Britain to comply with a European ruling on the controversial issue looms, according to reports.

The UK's current blanket ban on prisoners voting has been judged as unlawful by The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and officials in Strasbourg have given the Government until Friday to comply with the ruling.

Last February, the Commons called by an overwhelming margin of 234 to 22 for the blanket ban to be maintained, while David Cameron has flatly ruled-out the option of handing criminals back their democratic rights.

MPs will this week be given a fresh chance to vote on the issue when the Government introduces a draft bill.

The bill, to be published on Thursday, will give MPs three options, according to The Daily Telegraph.

They will be votes for prisoners who have been imprisoned for four years or less, votes for prisoners who have been imprisoned for six months or less, or no votes for prisoners at all.

There is a risk that this week's Commons vote could set up another clash with the ECHR, who could fine the Government if it does not comply with its ruling.

Attorney General Dominic Grieve has warned against defying the Strasbourg court, saying it's ruling imposes an international legal obligation on the UK.

But the Prime Minister has made it clear he would not be letting prisoners get the vote.

He said told the Commons last month: "I do not want prisoners to have the vote, and they should not get the vote - I am very clear about that.

"If it helps to have another vote in Parliament on another resolution to make it absolutely clear and help put the legal position beyond doubt, I am happy to do that.

"But no one should be in any doubt: prisoners are not getting the vote under this Government."

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling has said Parliament has the right in law to tell the ECHR that it does not accept its ruling.

But added there would be "consequences" for the UK's position in Europe if MPs do chose to defy the judgment.

In 2005, the ECRH said it was up to individual countries to decide which prisoners should be denied the right to vote from jail, but that a total ban was illegal.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Travel Customer Service and Experience Manager

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing travel comp...

Recruitment Genius: Cleaner / Caretaker / Storeman

£15500 - £17680 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A position has become available...

Recruitment Genius: Head of Sales - SaaS B2B

£60000 - £120000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This conference call startup i...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital and print design a...

Day In a Page

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
RuPaul interview: The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head

RuPaul interview

The drag star on being inspired by Bowie, never fitting in, and saying the first thing that comes into your head
Secrets of comedy couples: What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?

Secrets of comedy couples

What's it like when both you and your partner are stand-ups?
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
The best swimwear for men: From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer

The best swimwear for men

From trunks to shorts, make a splash this summer
Mark Hix recipes: Our chef tries his hand at a spot of summer foraging

Mark Hix goes summer foraging

 A dinner party doesn't have to mean a trip to the supermarket
Ashes 2015: With an audacious flourish, home hero Ian Bell ends all debate

With an audacious flourish, the home hero ends all debate

Ian Bell advances to Trent Bridge next week almost as undroppable as Alastair Cook and Joe Root, a cornerstone of England's new thinking, says Kevin Garside
Aaron Ramsey interview: Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season

Aaron Ramsey interview

Wales midfielder determined to be centre of attention for Arsenal this season
Community Shield: Arsene Wenger needs to strike first blow in rivalry with Jose Mourinho

Community Shield gives Wenger chance to strike first blow in rivalry with Mourinho

As long as the Arsenal manager's run of games without a win over his Chelsea counterpart continues it will continue to dominate the narrative around the two men
The unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth - and what it says about English life

Unlikely rise of AFC Bournemouth

Bournemouth’s elevation to football’s top tier is one of the most improbable of recent times. But it’s illustrative of deeper and wider changes in English life
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms