Prisoners' vote ban update – the clock is now ticking

With the majority of member countries of the Council of Europe having a form of restriction on prisoners' rights to vote the days of our blanket ban seem numbered.

With the majority of member countries of the Council of Europe having a form of restriction on prisoners' rights to vote the days of our blanket ban seem numbered.

 

Some 60% of member countries restrict prisoners' voting rights to some extent, so by doing away with a blanket ban and replacing it with a specific ban on prisoners voting if they are serving anything but short term sentences should not pose any real problems for the present government. It may be a 'bitter pill' for Mr David Cameron to swallow but it might be better for him to take the medicine than prevaricate.

 

Mr Cameron may feel '….physically ill to contemplate giving the vote to prisoners' but we have every reason to try and ensure that a democratically elected leader is capable of leading a government at the moment and you either believe in human rights and can willingly embrace such a concept or you don't. You cannot pick and choose – we are after all a member of the European Human Rights Convention. We are also members of the UN as well as NATO and are currently engaged in the use of military force, along with other European allies to protect innocent citizens elsewhere in the world.

 

The European Court of Human Rights has now given a further ruling to the effect that the UK has six months from the 11 April 2011 to introduce legislative proposals to replace the existing blanket ban. This may not be the type of reform of the voting system the coalition government were thinking of but that’s government for you!

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