- 7 updates
The Prime Minister dismissed suggestions that the UK would be forced by the European Court of Human Rights to give prisoners the right to vote.
"No one should be in any doubt: prisoners are not getting the vote under this government," David Cameron said at Prime Minister's Questions today.
A Government spokeswoman said: "We are considering the implications of the ECHR decision but we're clear that when people go to prison they lose their right to vote."
Sadiq Khan MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Secretary, said the public "deserve the truth about the Government's intentions" on prisoners' voting rights:
"The Tory-led Government’s sheer confusion this morning over whether prisoners will or won’t get the vote is yet another illustration of the ridiculously shambolic way they are running our country.
"The public will be rightly concerned at reports prisoners could get a vote.
"If true, thousands of those serving sentences for serious and violent crimes such as wounding, assault and domestic violence would be given a say in who runs the country.
"Instead of the chaos of leaks and spin we’ve seen this morning, the public deserve the truth about the Government’s intentions.”
Conservative MP Nick de Bois says Attorney General Dominic Grieve is expected to be asked about prisoner voting rights at this morning's Justice Select Committee:
- The Commons voted by an overwhelming margin of 234 to 22 in February to maintain the blanket ban rather than ease it in line with the European judgement.
- Although the motion was not binding on the coalition, the Prime Minister indicated he intended to defy the European Court of Human Rights.
- David Cameron previously said the idea of allowing prisoners to vote made him "physically ill."
- There are concerns the Government could face a huge compensation bill if it does not bring forward reforms before the ECHR's deadline of the end of November.
Government sources are playing down the speculation over plans to give prisoners the vote, saying no decision has been taken.
But the reports were enough to draw an immediate response from Conservative MPs.
Nick de Bois, secretary of the influential 1922 committee of Tory backbenches, tweeted:
Tory colleague Douglas Carswell added:
Richmond Park MP Zac Goldsmith wrote:
It's claimed the government is set to introduce legislation to give prisoners the vote. According to the Guardian, ministers could launch a draft bill to comply with a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.
However it's reported that a final decision is unlikely to be taken until late November - after police commissioner elections.