Thursday, November 22, 2012

More on Votes for Prisoners.

Lord Chancellor made a Statement to the House of Commons today about the thorny issue of 'Votes for Prisoners'. He informed MPs that the Gov't intends to bring forward a bill which includes 3 options for MPs to decide on - votes for those serving less than 4 yrs, for those serving less than 6 mths, and no votes for prisoners at all. (except for those who currently qualify). Lots of us asked questions of Chris Grayling. Its a very important issue.

Its reasonably clear that when the debate takes place, MPs will vote for no extension of votes for prisoners at all. It follows that potentially, after the next election, prisoners could appeal to the European Court, and the UK could well face large fines. Of course the UK could simply refuse to pay the fines. This is what other states could do. But we are the UK - a country rightly proud of our commitment to the rule of law. Some of us are appalled at the prospect of the UK being seen to refuse to accept the law when we don't like it. Impossible to say what impact this would have on reputation.

This afternoon, I asked the Lord Chancellor to do his utmost to avoid this looming confrontation. Root of it is that Strasbourg Court is spreading its wings further, into policy that has been hitherto a matter for national courts. If this process isn't challenged, important parts of our sovereignty will continue to be transferred to the ECHR. Perhaps there would be no willingness to compromise by the Court. But it looks to me, we are heading to a standoff that could mean UK withdrawing from the European Court altogether. Personally, I would see this as a huge blow to the UK's standing in the world, but my feel is that there are a fair few MPs who do not share opinion.


Roy Norris said...

It is fair enough to point out the UK role in establishing the ECHR. However the so-called judges in Strasbourg have and are straying from protecting Human Rights into meddling with civic rights.

The basic Human Right is a Right to Life. The right to vote if you have been incarcerated for a crime has nothing whatsoever to do with Human Rights and it is a perversion of a very important concept so to claim.

So clip the wings of the Strasbourg "judges". Marx would have described them as "useful idiots" and if you have a goal the destruction of our society you will have no difficulty in using the judgements of these useful idiots to support your cause.

If the only way to limit their 'powers' is to refuse to have anything to do with the idiots, so be it.

Anonymous said...

"The High Contracting Parties undertake to hold free elections at
reasonable intervals by secret ballot, under conditions which will
ensure the free expression of the opinion of the people in the
choice of the legislature."

The United Kingdom agreed to allow the Strasbourg Court to interpret and enforce this provision. The Court has held, not unreasonably, that the provision affects who is entitled to vote.

An adult political system should accept its responsibility to obey the law. Even when it disagrees. Especially when it disagrees.