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Monday, September 20, 2010



By Macer Hall, political editor

PRISONERS including rapists and murderers could get the right to vote in a move championed within the Cabinet by Nick Clegg, the Government said yesterday.

The Deputy Prime Minister wants the Lib Dem policy put into law as soon as possible to bring Britain into line with human rights rulings from European judges.

Polling booths for all inmates would be set up in jails around Britain.

But the concession to the Lib Dems within the coalition Government is bound to anger Conservatives.

Tory MP Mark Pritchard said: “Given all the pressures on the criminal justice system, ministers should have other priorities. While coalition government means some compromises, it should not mean ditching principles.”

The Government yesterday confirmed that ministers were “looking afresh” at the measure, which has caused a long-running row between the UK and the European Court of Human Rights.

However, Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke, who is responsible for prisons policy, is understood to be unlikely to oppose the move. One Whitehall source said: “This is very much something that Nick Clegg is particularly keen on.”

Labour MP Michael Dugher said: “David Cameron promised to be tough on crime but his Con Dem coalition is cutting police, curbing CCTV cameras and locking up fewer people who are convicted.”

Mr Dugher added: “We could end up with the ludicrous situation where the Home Secretary has to seek the votes of incarcerated criminals.”

He urged that the Government “stand up to Europe”.

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