UK debates prisoner voting rights
LONDON - The Associated PressBritish Prime Minister David Cameron has insisted that he will not comply with an order from European judges to amend laws that prevent prisoners in the U.K. from voting, setting up a new clash with the continent’s authorities.
Attorney General Dominic Grieve told a parliamentary committee Oct. 23 that the U.K. was obliged to follow the judgment, and could face lawsuits from prisoners if it did not. But Cameron later told lawmakers he had no intention of complying. “No one should be in any doubt. Prisoners are not getting the vote under this government,” he said.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in 2010 that Britain must amend a law that prevents prisoners from voting in national elections. At the time, Cameron said the decision had made him feel “physically ill.” The government has until Nov. 22 to respond to the European court ruling.
Grieve said Parliament’s decisions are “sovereign” but Britain would lose its reputation as a defender of human rights if it fails to comply. Downing Street officials claimed that a fresh government vote, setting out reasons why the ruling was being defied, might satisfy the European court.