Prisoners still disenfranchised
12 April 2010
Prisoners will be unable to vote in the general election despite the European Court of Human Rights ruling almost five years ago that the blanket ban was unlawful.
The House of Lords discussed the issue in the small hours of 7 April 2010 when Lord Ramsbotham, former Chief Inspector of Prisons, tabled an amendment to the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill which would have removed the ban.
Lord Ramsbotham lamented that the Government was “frightened of offending reactionary public opinion by appearing not to be tough on criminals” and “determined to prevaricate for as long as possible, going to absurd lengths, such as suggesting that prisoners had lost the moral authority to vote.”
The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights has also expressed serious concern, noting that the Government risks not only political embarrassment at the Council of Europe, but will be in breach of its international obligation to secure the full enjoyment of Convention rights for everyone within its jurisdiction.
- Council of Europe Committee of Minister’s resolution reiterating serious concern about the failure to implement the Court’s judgment before the general election and urging the authorities to rapidly adopt measures, of even an interim nature, for this general election
- Letter to the Guardian about Lord Ramsbotham’s amendment
- Government’s first stage consultation
- Our previous posts on the issue