Plea for prisoner voting compliance

Published: Wednesday 11th March 2015 by The News Editor

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The Government should bring forward legislation to allow some prisoners to vote to keep in line with human rights laws, a parliamentary committee has said.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights said it is concerned by the Government’s failure to implement European Court of Human Rights judgments relating to prisoner voting.

The group of MPs and peers recommends the new Government brings forward legislation to implement the recommendations of the Joint Committee on the Draft Prisoner Voting Bill, which came back with a key recommendation to allow prisoners serving 12 months or less to be eligible to vote.

The report said: “Judgments of the European Court of Human Rights are not merely advisory.

“States are under a binding legal obligation to implement them, an obligation voluntarily assumed by the UK when it agreed to Article 46(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“Compliance with the judgements of the Court concerning prisoner voting is therefore a matter of compliance with the rule of law.”

The committee also recommends that the Government brings forward amendments to two documents which are necessary in order to make clear to a person who is the subject of a whole life order that they can apply to the Secretary of State for discretionary release.

Overall, the group of MPs and peers praises the Government for the downward trend in the number of judgements of the European Court of Human Rights which have found the UK to be in breach of the Convention.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ” The Government has always been clear that it believes prisoner voting is an issue that should ultimately be decided in the UK.

“The issue of prisoner voting rights is complex and it is clear that a consensus will not be reached in this parliament, given the strongly-held views across both Houses.

“The Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers agreed, in their meeting in September, that their next discussion of the UK’s implementation of prisoner voting rights should be deferred until September 2015.”

Published: Wednesday 11th March 2015 by The News Editor

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