Votes for prisoners

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.

5 thoughts on “Votes for prisoners

  1. Thank you for doing something right at last and your intention to vote for the bill re prisoner votes which i hope is won and will stop them getting the vote. The attorney general stated ministers would not vote, does that mean department ministers or all government ministers because if the latter is the case there are 190 ministers, more than in the last government, so much for cutting the cost of government, and do you think there will be a majority for the bill. Further to that point why did nobody pick up on that in his statement? If ministers do not vote,why not? and does it not show to the public that the PM does not give a damn and he is just postering to the people to try and reclaim some credibility. I again notice your absence, along with others from the chamber and am rather at a loss as to why. I will comment further on the NHS shortly, to use a common phrase, when i have considered my response.

    • Dear Mr Barber,
      I do not accept there are 190 Ministers in the House of Commons. In any event the point you make about cutting the cost of Government is not valid becasue firstly the number of Ministers allowed on the payroll is limited by statute and secondly one of the very first acts of the new Government was to actually cut ministers pay by 5%.
      The motion relating to prisoners voting rights is a backbench debate allowed by the backbench business committee and fixed on a date allocated for backbench business.

      I am sorry you were not watching earlier when I spent over three hours in the Chamber. I have kept an eye on the progress of the debate on the monitor in my room where I have been working on other Parliamentary business.

      David

  2. Yup, I agree with you on this one David.

    I’d also be interested on your views on the other world issue of the day i.e. Egypt – or does the thought of listening to the peoples demands fill you with dread? It should, as it will happen here soon when people realise they’ve nothing left to lose.

    William Hague demands that Mubarek listens to the people while our police use CS gas on peaceful protesters outside Boots.
    If you can, watch the video – the silly sod gets most of it in his own face, would be laughable if it wasn’t for the injuries he inflicted on innocent bystanders with his offensive weapon.

    Oh, I forgot Mubarek was a big chum of your hero Ronnie wasn’t he?

  3. Dear Mr Nuttall, thank you for your quick responce, the figure i quoted was not mine but came from the politics show which said the number of ministers had, along with the pps gone up and was considerably more than under labour. As for cutting ministerial salaries by 5%that is peanuts, on a salary of, i believe,£80,000 or more a year that is a reduction of £4,000 still leaving them with £76,000 pa, nice work if you can get it. The main point of my letter, which you failed to answer, was if the bill is so important why were there so few members of the government in the chamber and why no PM. I am pleased to see the bill won by a huge majority but it is not binding on the government, again why not, because the house at last showed some spine and told the ECHR where to go, pity they don’t do the same when it comes to the EU. A further point David re cutting the cost of parliament is the huge number of UNELECTED people in the other place, or to give it its correct name, gods waiting room, people put there by your government has increased by well over 100 since you came to office.when i saw the cost of the lords was about £35,000 per peer i was astounded, again not my figures but the figure given out by the lords themselves.

  4. I find the prisoners’ votes issue somewhat difficult and have no strong view one way or the other. But if things are to change they must change in a way that is fair and balanced.

    At the moment one part of the penalty imposed on those sentenced to a term of imprisonment is that they lose the right to vote. Were they now to retain that right it seems to follow that something should be added to their sentence so that the overall penalty remains the same.

    Human rights, as set out in the EHR Convention and our own Human Rights Act, have to be treated as very important. Removal of what the ECHR considers one of those important human rights must be a severe penalty to add to that of imprisonment. So a fairly sturdy additional prison sentence seems appropriate.

    A minimum of a further three months of imprisonment for every four years of the sentence seems about right, with an absolute minimum of three months. Or the time before application may be made for parole could be extended using the same formula. There has to be something otherwise the proposal is to reduce sentences across the board and that is no part of the remit of ECHR.

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