UK Politics

Question Time to come from Wormwood Scrubs

Wormwood Scrubs
Image caption The prisoners will be vetted by prison staff and the BBC

The BBC is to broadcast its political panel programme Question Time from inside a prison for the first time.

Ten Wormwood Scrubs inmates and 10 staff will join 100 members of the public in the audience next Thursday.

They can question Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, ex-Home Secretary Jack Straw and other panellists.

In April, the European Court of Human Rights gave the UK six months to comply with its ruling to extend the right to vote to convicted prisoners.

Wormwood Scrubs is a category B prison accepting inmates aged over 21 who do not require maximum security.

A BBC spokesman said: "There will be 10 prisoners, none of whom will have been serving for any violent crimes. They will be vetted by the prison staff and the BBC."

The programme, which is filmed at a different location each week, will be recorded at about 2030 BST at the west London prison and broadcast at 2235 BST.

"The involvement in the debate of prisoners and prison staff will offer Question Time viewers a unique insight into their views on the issue of the right to vote as well as more general questions," the spokesman said.

The UK's blanket ban on prisoners voting has been held incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights but earlier this year MPs voted to keep it - although the vote was not binding

David Cameron was asked about the issue of prisoner votes at Prime Minister's questions on Wednesday.

He said: "The House of Commons has given a very clear view that prisoners shouldn't have the vote. My own view is that prisoners shouldn't have the vote."

The PM said the UK was working to reform the European Court to make it "pay more attention national judgements", but added: "At the same time, we will have to consider our response to this issue and I want it to be as close as possible to the clearly expressed will of the House of Commons."

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