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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kenny MacAskill is a Scottish knobhead!

Kenny MacAskill is a Scottish knobhead!

Kenny MacAskill urged to act over votes for criminals

Published Date: 12 December 2010

By Andrew Whitaker Political Correspondent

SCOTLAND'S justice secretary Kenny MacAskill has been urged to make representations to UK ministers to stop convicted killers and other violent criminals having a say in next year's Holyrood elections.

The demand from Labour's justice spokesman Richard Baker comes after a controversial European court ruling that the UK government cannot block convicts from voting in elections.

Although Scottish ministers are powerless to prevent the move as the legislation is

reserved to Westminster, MacAskill has been urged to lobby the UK government to ensure that voting rights for convicts are applied in "the most limited way possible".

Labour MSP Richard Baker made the demand in a letter to the justice secretary in which he also asked MacAskill to "urgently" clarify with UK ministers whether the changes in law will take place before the Scottish Parliament elections in May 2011.

Baker said: "It has been the view of successive governments in the UK and countries around the world that those who commit crimes so serious they warrant a period of imprisonment, should forfeit the right to vote while they are imprisoned. I am sickened at the thought of convicted serial killers, rapists and paedophiles getting the right to vote.

"Now we learn that not only are the SNP happy to scrap thousands of prison sentences in Scotland, Kenny MacAskill seems willing to sit on his hands and let the UK government implement this ruling as it likes. The justice secretary needs to wake up to the profound impact this ruling will have on our justice system and make urgent representations to the UK government demanding that this ruling is implemented in the strictest, most limited way possible."

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "The Scottish Government strongly opposes convicted prisoners being entitled to vote while they are serving a prison sentence. The UK government is responsible for decisions on who is eligible to vote in national and local government elections."

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