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Prisoner Voting

Volume 533: debated on Tuesday 11 October 2011

The European Court of Human Rights has granted an extension to the deadline for implementing prisoner voting rights that was set in the Greens and MT judgment against the UK. That is because the Court is considering an Italian prisoner voting rights case—Scoppola v. Italy. It is therefore right to consider the final Scoppola judgment and the wider legal context before setting out our next steps on prisoner voting. The Government will express their views on the principles raised in that case, and we will be arguing that it is for Parliament to decide the way forward on this issue.

The House has spoken overwhelmingly on one side of the argument on this issue: anyone serving a custodial sentence should not have a vote. I very much hope the Deputy Prime Minister will recognise this appropriately in any further dealings he has on the matter.

As I said to my hon. Friend, the first point of principle we are seeking to establish is precisely that it is this Parliament that should be able to determine matters such as this, and we will be arguing that in the Scoppola case that is before the Court now.