Thursday, 16 December 2010

Losing a grip on prisoner voting...

Lobbydog was chatting to a member of the previous administration earlier about Government measures which will allow some UK prisoners to vote.

The Coalition says the measures must be taken because of a ruling by the European Court that denying all prisoners the vote is unlawful.

Any time a Labour MP attacks the Government in the House on the issue, the minister hits back saying that a Labour Government would also have had to follow the court’s ruling.

The previous government did nothing to resolve the issue whereas the Coalition, goes the Government line, is now taking the hard decisions Labour could not.

I asked the former minister whether it wasn’t a bit rich of them to attack the Coalition when all Labour had done was to hold two consultations on the issue without ever getting to grips with it.

“Of course we never got to grips with it,” said the former minister.

“That was the whole point. We couldn’t go against the court, but giving prisoners the vote was wrong. So our view was that we should just kick it in to the long grass.

“Then, when we got to it again we took the view that we should kick it into the long grass again and we would have kept doing so.”

I get the feeling that there are probably quite a few Tories who would support such a strategy.


Gareth said...

Kicking things into the long grass is for MPs to fail in their duty to this nation. Too spineless to accept their own treachery in passing large gobs of authority onto the continent.

Of course, unless Parliament is not sovereign, they *can, could and should* deal with the issue rather than bury their heads in their arses - by removing the ECHR from a position of authority on these shores.

Isn't it also the case that they could have dealt with it by enacting legislation that included the removal of voting rights as part of criminal punishment? Other European nations do.

Time and again we are instructed to view 'Europe' as a source of problems when the bulk of them start and end in Westminster.

Anonymous said...

Think Gareth is right. Our civil servants gold plate EU regulations - no doubt because it makes them (the civil servants) more powerful.
Not that the ECHR is anything to do with the EU - but the principle is the same.

To imply that it is clever for politicians to prevaricate is just junk.

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