Labour joins fight against prisoners' votes

Discussion in 'Soap Box' started by Xaos, Jan 15, 2011.

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  1. Xaos

    Xaos Well-Known Member

    The Coalition Government could be forced to water down controversial plans to allow prisoners to vote in elections as Conservative MPs prepare to join forces with Labour to sabotage the proposal.

    The threat of a Tory rebellion grew as ministers disclosed that 28,770 prisoners would be entitled to vote under their plans – including 5,991 convicted of violence against the person, 1,753 of sexual offences, 2,486 of robbery and 4,188 of burglary.

    Following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, ministers propose to lift the ban on votes for prisoners for those serving jail sentences of up to four years. Although David Cameron stressed he was doing so reluctantly, the Liberal Democrats have long argued that prisoners should not be denied the right to vote.

    Labour delayed a decision on implementing the Court's ruling before last May's election but is now ready to form an unlikely alliance with Tory MPs in an attempt to force a U-turn. More than 40 Tories are said to oppose the Government's plan – potentially enough to defeat it with the backing of the Labour Opposition.

    Labour wants the right to vote limited to inmates serving up to one year in jail. That would restrict the number to 8,096 of the 83,000 people in Britain's jails – including 1,761 people convicted of violent offences, 212 of sexual offences, 143 of robbery and 507 of burglary. The figures emerged in a written Commons reply by Crispin Blunt, the Prisons minister. Sadiq Khan, the shadow Justice Secretary, expressed concern that more than 28,000 inmates would be allowed the vote under the Coalition's proposals.

    He said: "This is a slap in the face for victims of crime. We have already seen the Conservative-led government break their promise on knife crime. Now they are also giving thousands of offenders the vote. MPs on all sides of the House and the public are right to be angry about this decision."

    He accused the Government of "sneaking out" the figures last month on the day the Commons began its Christmas break. Tory MPs also reacted angrily to the disclosure and signalled their willingness to work with Labour on the issue. Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, said: "I have yet to find anyone on our benches who agrees with it. It is totally unacceptable to allow prisoners the vote. The whole point of going to prison is that you lose your liberty; one of your liberties is the freedom to vote."

    Mr Davies said he would vote against legislation permitting any prisoners to vote but would also back a Labour amendment restricting the right to criminals serving up to one year in jail. "I will vote with anyone who believes the same," he said.

    The Tory MP blamed the Coalition's decision on the influence of the Liberal Democrats. "It seems to be a case of the tail wagging the dog to help Nick Clegg," he said. "The Liberal Democrats are struggling in the polls. If they try to explain this to the public, it will kill them off altogether."

    Labour sources said the party had never been happy about the Court's ruling and believed that a one-year limit would be more acceptable to the public as it would stop thousands of robbers and sex offenders getting the vote.

    It is unclear when MPs will vote on the Government's proposal, but the threat of a revolt could force ministers to backtrack rather than risk a defeat. Last month, the Coalition backed down over plans to end ring-fenced budgets for sport in schools and to cut the Bookstart scheme which provides free books to young children.
  2. Issaccs

    Issaccs Well-Known Member

    Hard to say anything on this, doesn't surprise me at all but I feel that whatever you have done you deserve a say in things.
  3. me myself and i

    me myself and i Account Closed

    If you cant do the time, dont do the crime.
    I have done some time, but i still think some rights are lost fairly and voting should be one of them.
    The point being, if you break the so called law, then you lose the rights to vote on it when incarceration. Sounds reasonable.
    But believe me, i still somethings are worth going to prison for.
  4. Deleted SKU

    Deleted SKU Well-Known Member

    Democracy is something which should apply to everyone where at all possible, including prisoners. Disassociating someone who commits a crime from society is not the best way to rehabilitate someone. For those who have committed a serious crime (crimes against people, or those with a long sentence), or those who have committed crime directly involving the electoral process (such as intimidation or electoral fraud), there are enough valid arguments against them having the vote, that it makes sense to have some level of restriction in place, but for more minor crimes, where we hope that the individual will be rehabilitated, the right to vote, though perhaps merely a symbolic gesture for many, i feel is an important one. When we try to greatly to pick and choose who can and can't be involved in democracy, it risks no longer being democratic.
  5. Hache

    Hache Well-Known Member

    The thing is the election takes place on 1 day, if you are in prison on that day then you cant vote, that is stupid. Imagine if you were due to get out the next day. What if you've only got to serve a month or two.

    The rules should be changed so that only those not due out within 4 years can be excluded.
  6. Bob26003

    Bob26003 Well-Known Member

    Just because you are a criminal does not mean you are not a citizen: You should still have the right to vote.

    Do you know how many ppl are in jail for stupid nonviolent offenses? It is very undemocratic to disenfranchise them.
  7. Kaos General

    Kaos General Well-Known Member

    Hardly surprising, theyve been fighting this for the past 13 years. The European Court of Human Rights have already ruled that prisoners should have the right to vote and any political party who are in power are now actually breaching this.

    Just because you have broken the law why should your right to vote be taken away? Hardly democratic seeing as their are 80,000 people currently incarcerated in the UK. I can guarantee if prisoners were allowed to vote then their would not be a hung parliament and no stupid coalition either
  8. Issaccs

    Issaccs Well-Known Member

    How the fuck do you figure? Prisoners are likely gonna vote Lib Dem, Labour or some fringe party, 80,000 people spread across the UK compared to millions of voters aint shit.
  9. Kaos General

    Kaos General Well-Known Member

    Ive been in prison many many many times and every single time the General Election comes around not one single person would vote for labour or the lib dems.
  10. Crue-K

    Crue-K Well-Known Member

    I really cannot see why people would be up in arms of this. How many prisoners actually give a shit and want to vote? It's not like agreeing to give every prisoner and xbox360 to pass their time. Voting is a civic responsibility that some choose to do or not to do, surely anything that gives prisoners responsibility will be of benefit to their long term rehabilitation. Just because you are serving time, it doesn't mean you have relinquished your citizenship. I have absolutely no problem for prisoners being able to vote, regardless of their crime/offence.
  11. Issaccs

    Issaccs Well-Known Member

    So prisoners are gonna vote Tory hmm?
  12. Kaos General

    Kaos General Well-Known Member

    Actually the vast majority would vote BNP and tory
  13. me myself and i

    me myself and i Account Closed

    What? So they would vote Tory then? Don't think so.
  14. me myself and i

    me myself and i Account Closed

    What, when there are thousands of ethnic minority prisoners in the Uk? Again, dont think so.
  15. Kaos General

    Kaos General Well-Known Member

    Ah so someone who is in prison for say non payment of council tax or non payment of TV licence, then they should have all their civil liberties stripped? Oh and lets not forget all the people who are in prison who are innocent.

    Yeah lets go back to the good old days when prisoners got nothing and had to slop out as well.
  16. A1231988

    A1231988 Well-Known Member

    I personally think a prisoner's right to vote should depend on the length of his sentence. I don't see any sense in somebody who will be in prison for the rest of their life having a say in presidential elections. On the other hand, however, somebody not serving a life sentence should, in my opinion, have a say.
  17. Terry

    Terry Antiquities Friend Staff Alumni

    This is just typical of the tories, they can't even agree with each other and these tossers are in power...considers immigrating :laugh:
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