Prisoners on day release will be allowed home leave to vote

Chinese prisoners voting
Chinese prisoners voting

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Theresa May is to risk incurring the wrath of Conservative MPs by granting voting rights to some prisoners, it has been reported.

Prisoners sentenced to less than a year in jail and who are let out on day release will allowed to return home to vote after Justice Secretary David Lidington decided to end the existing total ban, according to The Sunday Times.

The move follows a 12-year wrangle between the UK and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg which has repeatedly ruled the blanket ban breaches prisoners’ human rights.

The former prime minister David Cameron once said the thought of prisoners being given the vote made him feel “physically sick”.

Mr Lidington was reported to have circulated his proposals to other ministers last week.

However Tory MP Peter Bone told The Sunday Times: “I’m not in favour of letting prisoners vote. I find it extraordinary. It’s a bonkers decision. I think a lot of MPs will be concerned about this.”

A Government spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on speculation. Our policy on prisoner voting is well established – it remains a matter for the UK to determine, and offenders in prison cannot vote.”

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “The European Court of Human Rights has been saying for some years that we can’t stop all prisoners having the vote and the Labour Party believes that we should indeed, in the end, we have to support the position of the European Court of Human Rights.”