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Friday, June 25, 2010

Open letter to Diana Johnson, Labour MP for Hull North

Open letter to Diana Johnson, Labour MP for Hull North


Thursday 24th June 2010

Dear Mr Hirst

I note that you travelled to the House of Commons yesterday and requested to see me.

Unfortunately I had no notice that you were coming to London and I was speaking in the Budget debate. I am sorry you do not find this acceptable but if you had informed me you were coming to London it would have been more helpful.

As you know with the new coalition government the decision on prisoners right to vote is being renewed.

Yours sincerely
Diana Johnson
Labour MP for Hull North

Dear Diana Johnson

Thank you for your handwritten note and belatedly making a small effort to respond to me.

Unfortunately I had no notice that when I went to Europe to get the justice for prisoners', which was being denied to them by the Executive, Judiciary and Parliament in the UK, that Tony Blair, Jack Straw, and Charles Falconer, etc, would decide to ignore the European Court of Human Rights decision in Hirst v UK(No2). Especially, given what Tony Blair had stated to the electorate in Rights Brought Home: The Human Rights Bill. In particular, at para 1.17: "For individuals, and for those advising them, the road to Strasbourg is long and hard. Even when they get there, the Convention enforcement machinery is subject to long delays. This might be convenient for a government which was half-hearted about the Convention and the right of individuals to apply under it, since it postpones the moment at which changes in domestic law or practice must be made. But it is not in keeping with the importance which this Government attaches to the observance of basic human rights".

I note in your half-hearted defence, of ignoring a member of the electorate in your constituency, which only adds insult to injury, that you were "speaking in the Budget debate". Had you taken the time to read the judgment in my case, you would have noted that the Court found in my favour on the point I raised that Parliament had not debated the issue before disenfranchising convicted prisoners'. I heard you from the public gallery state that the government's budget would effect those in the North the most. This was echoed by a member of the public on BBC1 Question Time last night.

You state that you are sorry that I did not find your pathetic excuse for ignoring me acceptable. And that had I informed you that I was coming to London it would have been more helpful. How typical of an MP to blame the electorate for their own failings to do the job that they were elected to do. Don't you think it would have been more honest and more helpful in the first instance, had Tony Blair not lied to the electorate in the UK and the Council of Europe about his commitment to honour the UK's obligation to abide by the Convention and Court decisions?

You state: "As you know with the new coalition government the decision on prisoners' right to vote is being renewed". However, I know no such thing because it would appear, so far, that the new coalition government is proving to be just as dishonest as the last administration on the issue of prisoners' human right to vote. I note that you concede the point, namely, prisoners' right to vote. Because had you taken the time to see me, like Peter Wardle and Gaël Martin-Micallef, the Electoral Commission's second chief executive, and the Venice Commision's Rapporteur on elections, respectively, who also received no notice of my intention to visit them, then you would have learnt something very important. That is, that both of them agreed with me and my lawyer's view, that the Hirst case is very simple and so is the solution. All that is required is for Parliament to repeal s.3 of RPA 1983 to ensure that convicted prisoners' right to vote becomes a reality.

Therefore, at the very least, I feel that in the interests of all concerned justice should be seen to be done. I would be grateful if you would apoligise to the House for the error of following the party line when you should have instead been following the Convention and Court decision in my case.

I look forward to your speedy response, because justice delayed is justice denied.

Yours sincerely

John Hirst
a.k.a. the blogger Jailhouselawyer.


Related post Repeal s.3 campaign

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