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Draft bill on prisoner voting published

Draft bill on prisoner voting published
A draft bill which could lead to prisoners being given the vote has been presented to the Commons.

In a statement to the House, Chris Grayling outlined a bill which would see MPs able to vote three ways: to give the vote to those who have been in prison for four years or less, six months or less or to keep a blanket ban in place.

The draft bill will now be sent to a joint committee of peers and MPs for pre-legislative scrutiny before it returns to the Commons.

The Government is under pressure from the European Court of Human Rights to allow at least some prisoners the vote, but last month David Cameron made his position clear, saying they “should not get the vote”.

Former Policing Minister Nick Herbert said the debate today was simply the Government playing for time with the European Court of Human Rights.

“I think it’s doubtful that this will comply with what the European Court of Human Rights wants, and it seems as if the Government is effectively just playing for time.

"I think [it] just demonstrates the absurdity of the situation that we are in: that our elected House of Commons has voted by a ten-to-one majority...historically we have always decided that it is wrong that prisoners of any kind other than remand prisoners should be given the vote, and now we have a super-national court deciding on, I think, the spurious grounds that this is a human right that prisoners should be required to have the vote."

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On air

Nick Herbert: Government is playing for time with ECHR

22/11/2012 on Today, BBC Radio 4

House of Commons

Grayling outlines prisoner vote bill

22/11/2012

On air

Bob Neill: Europe should not interfere on UK voting rights

22/11/2012 on The World At One, BBC Radio 4