UK Politics

Prisoner voting changes 'will affect up to 100 inmates'

A prison

Up to 100 day-release prisoners at any one time will affected by plans to ease the blanket ban on giving prisoners voting rights, MPs have been told.

Justice Secretary David Lidington said guidance needed to be amended to address an "anomaly" in the system around prisoners on temporary licence.

Currently, those wearing an electronic tag in the community can vote, but those out on temporary licence cannot.

However, one Tory MP said giving the vote to any prisoners was "idiotic".

Addressing the Commons, Mr Lidington said no offenders would be released in order to vote.

He also said that no inmates will be able to vote from prison or be able to register a prison as their home address.

The decision follows a long legal battle with the European Court of Human Rights, which has repeatedly ruled the UK's blanket ban on prisoner voting breaches prisoners' human rights.

Mr Lidington said the government continued to believe that convicted offenders "detained in prison should not vote".

But he said giving the right to vote was consistent with the approach of preparing prisoners for their return to society.

Tory MP and former attorney general Dominic Grieve and ex-cabinet minister Cheryl Gillan both welcomed the announcement.

However, othwr spoke out about the plans.

Tory MP Philip Davies said: "I think giving the vote to any prisoners is idiotic, unjustifiable and is about as popular with the general public as finding a rattlesnake in a lucky dip."

Conservative MP Philip Hollobone, told the Commons that ex-prime minister David Cameron had said the thought of giving prisoners the vote made him feel physically sick.

"Many of us on these benches feel the same nausea and many of our constituents as well. I congratulate (Mr Lidington) on overcoming his nausea," he added.

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