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Wednesday, May 05, 2010



By Inside Time, from insidetime issue May 2010

The Labour Government has failed to implement a ruling made 6 years ago by the European Court to give sentenced prisoners in the United Kingdom the vote. Despite this deliberate defiance of the rule of law by the Government, we invite prisoners to exercise their civil and political right to vote by using the Inside Time ballot paper in the PRISONERS VOTE! section

It’s not often you can get the House of Lords to rock with laughter, particularly at 2.30 in the morning. But it did so when the lugubrious Lord Bach, the Justice Minister, stood up to tell their Lordships that the Government hadn’t enough time to consider an amendment to allow prisoners the vote.

That the Government had used delaying tactics for the past 6 years - a period of time longer than the Second World War - ‘was a disgrace’ Lord Ramsbotham, a former Chief Inspector of Prisons, told the Lords.

The Government’s ducking and diving on prisoner voting rights, he said: ‘amounted to nothing less than a deliberate and inexcusable defiance of the rule of law ... At the same time, they have gone to extreme lengths to punish those who do the same thing, as demonstrated by the record numbers in all prisons, the fact that we have more life sentence prisoners than the rest of Europe added together, and that more than 3,000 new criminal offences have been introduced. What message does this attitude to the law send, not just to prisoners but to young people who may be tempted to turn to crime?'

Her Majesty the Queen gave her assent to twenty Bills before the close of this session of Parliament on 12 April 2010, including the Sunbeds Regulation Act, the Anti Slavery Day Act, the Equality Act and even the Bournemouth Borough Council Act.

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