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Monday, September 20, 2010

Fury as cons given vote 'for Holyrood'

Fury as cons given vote 'for Holyrood'

MOVES to let PRISONERS vote at next year's Holyrood election sparked fury last night.

Euro officials told UK ministers they must give cons the right before the Scottish Parliament poll in May.

Labour Justice spokesman Richard Baker said it could leave lags with the deciding votes for MSPs in marginal constituencies.

He said: "The idea that the result could be decided by a prisoner will fill the public with horror."

And a spokesman for Victim Support Scotland added: "When someone is convicted, it is to be expected that they will lose their liberty and other rights such as taking part in elections."

Cons have been banned from voting in Britain for 140 years, but in 2005 Europe ruled this was a breach of human rights.

Under pressure to change electoral rules, the UK's representative said at a Council of Europe meeting: "The new coalition Government is now actively considering the best way of implementing the judgement."

A Council spokesman added: "The Committee of Ministers insists the UK Government take measures before the elections to the devolved assemblies in May."

At Peterhead jail in Aberdeenshire, 220 of Scotland's worst perverts have tried to add their names to the voting roll - led by 'Limbs in Loch' killer William Beggs.

He has since launched a legal challenge after their bid was rejected.

UK electoral law is reserved to Westminster. The Scottish Government would be forced to make arrangements to allow the majority of Scotland's 8,000 cons to vote.

A spokesman said: "Giving prisoners the right to vote is not something the Scottish Government agrees with or supports."

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