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Saturday, July 09, 2011

The question mark over David Cameron's head

The question mark over David Cameron's head

On 6 October 2005 the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights rejected the UK's appeal in the Prisoners Votes Case, Hirst v UK (No2).

On 11 April 2011 in Greens and MT v UK the Chamber of the ECtHR ruled that the UK must amend the law to allow convicted prisoners to vote, and set a time line of 6 months to bring forward proposals.

On 11 October 2011 the 6 month deadline expires.

On 6 July 2011 the following question was asked in the House of Lords:

Asked By Lord Willoughby de Broke

"To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to respond to the ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in April that they should make proposals to grant prisoners the vote within six months of that ruling".

The question is straightforward. It should have received a straightforward response.

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): "My Lords, the Government are considering the next steps and Parliament will be the first to be informed when the decisions on the way forward have been reached".

From Hirst v UK (No2) to the Government's time running out it's 6 years and 5 days. I would have thought that that is well long enough for the previous Government and present Government to consider the next steps on the way forward?

Lord Willoughby de Broke: "My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister for that helpful reply, but it does not take us very much further".

Lord McNally: "On the question of the commitments made last April, we have promised to make our position clear on 11 October".

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