The House of Commons will today debate and vote on whether we should continue with our centuries old tradition of preventing convicted criminals from having the right to vote.
The European Convention on Human Rights was introduced after the Second World War to prevent the re-occurrence of the atrocities which took place during that war. During a Westminster Hall debate on this issue last month a fellow M.P. spoke about the fact that when the Convention was being drafted the question of voting rights for prisoners was apparently suggested but because of Britain’s long-standing position on this matter the offending words were never included. That is how it has been in this Country since as long ago as the Forfeiture Act passed in 1870. I see no reason to change it and I will be voting accordingly today.
For me this issue is about who governs Britain. Is it our democratically elected House of Commons or is it some un-elected judges in Europe. Prisoners are all volunteers. People know that if they commit a crime and are sentenced to a term of imprisonment they lose their right to vote.