EU 'steps back' on prisoner votes ban

Posted On: 
11th December 2015

The European Council has taken a step back in an ongoing row about whether prisoners should be allowed to vote.

A debate between the Government and the EU has been raging since 2005 when murderer John Hirst won an EU ruling saying a blanket ban on votes for prisoners was unlawful.

Political ping pong has ensued ever since, with the Council chastising the UK almost every three months and keeping the case under constant review.

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But ministers have apparently secured a concession whereby the case will not be discussed again until December 2016 at the earliest.

And according to the Daily Mail, Whitehall officials hope it will be deferred every December until it is eventually dropped.

Human rights minister Dominic Rabb said: “We made clear there’s no realistic prospect of lifting the ban on prisoner voting for the foreseeable future.

“It’s a matter of democratic principle. This has been registered, and we don’t need to fall out over it.”

But Eurosceptic MP Steve Baker took the chance to mock the Prime Minister's EU renegotiations.

“Perhaps if the Government had shown this degree of robustness in the past we’d be in a far better position with the EU,” he told the paper.

A series of compromise deals were worked on by successive governments between 2005 and 2015 to wriggle out of giving prisoners the right to vote.

The most recent suggestion was to allow inmates to take part in elections from the final six months of their sentences.