In The Press » May 23rd 2012 - Prisoner Vote Letter
Prisoner Vote Letter
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UK Independence Party
From the Office of Derek Clark, MEP, East Midlands
Rowan House, 23 Billing Road, Northampton NN1 5AT
Tel: 01604 620064 Fax: 01604 636002
May 23rd, 2012
The recent ruling whereby the European Court of Human Rights ordered Britain to give prisoners the vote within six months is an absolute fudge.
It first said an automatic ban on votes for prisoners is incompatible with the right to free elections enshrined in the ECHR. Then it then accepted the UK Government's argument that each state has wide discretion on regulating the ban.
The court did not give guidance as to our future legislation but there must be no lengthy delay to setting a timetable for amending our electoral law. The UK government must bring forward proposals within six months.
So we cannot ban all convicted persons from the right to vote and must frame rules as to what types of crime merit a ban and whether that is to be mandatory or left to a judge to decide at the time of conviction.
Our coalition Government now has six months to frame the new laws and decide if judges are to be given discretion. This is open to controversy.
If the vote ban kicks in at a certain length of sentence for a given crime the judge now has to consider the possible ban in deciding how long the sentence shall be! Counsel on both sides will be more than interested. If a there is a ban due to length of sentence is that the stated length or the actual time the judge orders must be served?
A complete mess but we can expect nothing less from the EU. Please don't kid yourself that this is an independent court, it is nothing of the kind. It only has few actual judges and its function is to endorse the EU and to push it further along the path to a single state.
Derek Clark UKIP MEP for the East Midlands