Prisoner vote appeal rejected

Convicted murderers Peter Chester and George McGeoch have lost a Supreme Court battle over the right to vote while in jail.

Not allowing prisoners to vote 'sets bad example'

The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal from convicted murderers over their right to vote. Credit: PA Wire

The failure to allow prisoners to vote sets a "very bad example" and will make the life of jail staff more difficult, the Chief Inspector of Prisons has warned.

Nick Hardwick admitted few prisoners were interested in taking part, but denying them the opportunity to vote would send out the wrong message:

"I think the judgment's been made and what would set a bad example would be if we said to prisoners 'We don't like that judgment, therefore we aren't going to do it'.

Mr Hardwick suggested there was an argument for withholding the vote from prisoners serving long sentences for "heinous" crimes, but to grant those serving shorter sentences the vote.

Read: Cameron: Prisoner ruling a 'victory for common sense'

Cameron: Prisoner ruling a 'victory for common sense'

David Cameron has hailed the Supreme Court's ruling on prisoner voting as a "great victory for common sense".

The Supreme Court ruled that convicted murderers Peter Chester and George McGeoch were not entitled to vote while in prison.

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The Supreme Court judgment on prisoner voting is a great victory for common sense.

Read: Prisoner vote idea makes PM feel 'physically ill'

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Prisoner vote idea makes PM feel 'physically ill'

David Cameron previously said the idea of giving prisoners the vote made him feel "physically ill".

The Supreme Court will today rule whether prisoners will have the right to vote in the next election.

David Cameron said the idea of giving prisoners the vote made him feel 'physically ill'. Credit: PA Wire

Speaking in November 2010, Mr Cameron said: "It makes me physically ill to even contemplate giving the vote to anyone who is in prison. Frankly when people commit a crime and go to prison they should lose their rights including the right to vote."

However, the Attorney General Dominic Grieve has warned that it would be a "serious matter" if Britain defied the ruling and could lead to a significant amount of compensation having to be paid out.

Read: Large amounts of political opposition to prisoners voting

Supreme Court to rule on prisoners' right to vote

Prisoners will find out later today whether they will have the right to vote in the next election, as judges at the Supreme Court rule on a controversial case which says EU law allows inmates to vote.

Supreme Court
Judges at the Supreme Court (above) will decide if existing British law trumps EU law on prisoner's voting rights later today. Credit: PA

Convicted murderers Peter Chester and George McGeoch, who were imprisoned separately both brought cases claiming EU law and treaties give them the right to vote.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has already told the UK to end the blanket ban on prisoners voting.

Last year the Government prepared a bill to allow some prisoners to vote, as it admitted there would have to be some change to the law.

However, the Government's two top legal advisors urged judges to rule against the cases and encouraged the court to "take its own course".

Read more: Draft bill on prisoner voting

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