Tonight MPs overwhelmingly voted to keep the ban on prisoners having the right to vote; the motion was won with a majority of 212 with only 22 MPs voting against it. Once again it has fallen on a Conservative Government to send a clear message to the EU; that Britain is no longer prepared to be pushed around and have our sovereignty questioned. The motion was led by senior back bencher and former leadership contender David Davis, however, it recently received the support of the Prime Minister who urged MPs to vote for the motion.
The Commons vote is not the end of this matter and Ministers stress that they are now potentially facing a constitutional crisis; with their ‘international obligations’ on one side and their duty to respect the sovereignty of our parliament on the other. Those in favour of giving criminals the vote argue that Britain cannot pick and choose which parts of the European Convention on Human Rights we obide by, which I suppose is true. However, for me this is just further evidence that a universal concept of human rights is unachievable; to any sensible Briton the idea of giving criminals the vote is repulsive. Voting is a civil liberty, the purpose of prisons is; of course to rehabilitate prisoners but it is also a punishment, your freedom is taken and with that, your right to vote as well. No argument, prisoners don’t deserve the right to vote; once they have served their debt to society yes, but until then no!
Which does the Government cherish more; our obligations as an EU member and signatory of the ECHR or the sovereignty of our parliament? In my opinion the latter should always be the priority of the government. This votes for prisoners issue is just the latest in a long line of problems to come from Europe; all of which prove that the EU doesn’t represent our values or our interests and therefore is definitely not for us.