James Forsyth

There’ll be a Tory rebellion over prisoner voting

There'll be a Tory rebellion over prisoner voting
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The government’s response to the European Court on Human Rights ruling that the ban on prisoners voting is unlawful is to allow those sentenced to less than four years to vote but to bar them from participating in local elections to prevent the embarrassment of criminals voting for their local police commissioner. I suspect that this will not be enough to head off a fairly sizable Tory backbench rebellion when this package is voted on next year.

Giving prisoners the vote is a repellent enough idea to most Tories but giving them the vote because the European Court of Human Rights demands it particularly sticks in the craw. A lot of sensible Tory backbenchers think that the coalition could have responded far more robustly to the Strasbourg court’s decision. 

If the whips are not careful, the whole issue could become a proxy for Tory concerns about the failure to move on a British Bill of Rights which its proponents claim would offer some protection from the rulings of the increasingly activist Strasbourg Court. 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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