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Fury as lawyers back criminals in compensation bid

Friday 4th February 2011 (Andrew Griffiths)

‘AMBULANCE-chasing’ solicitors are lining up prisoners to represent as they plan to sue the Government for being denied the vote while locked up, Burton’s MP has claimed.

Andrew Griffiths pilloried the legal profession for what he described as ‘repugnant’ and ‘out of touch’ practices.

Mr Griffiths, who sits on the political and constitutional reform select committee, spoke out after hearing that prisoners were already planning to sue the Government over being denied the ballot and had received backing from lawyers.

A European Court ruling has twisted the UK’s arm, meaning many prisoners will soon have to be given the vote.

Now no-win no-fee solicitors are apparently signing prisoners to their books with a view to suing the Government for being denied the vote while it is decided exactly which prisoners will be allowed the right.

Reports claim these lawyers have already collected 2,500 clients nationally, seeking payouts at the European Court of Human Rights.

Mr Griffiths said: “I find it frankly repugnant that these prisoners are going to be lining up for compensation when many of their victims do not get a penny.

“It is distasteful that lawyers are signing prisoners onto their books. This whole saga just shows how the European courts and Britain’s legal system are totally out of touch with the views of Parliament and the British people.”

He continued: “In an ideal world, I don’t want to see prisoners being given the vote. However, to compromise, I want to find a solution which limits as much as possible the range of prisoners who can vote.

“My view is that if you commit a crime you should lose your rights and privileges, and voting is one of those privileges.”

Mr Griffiths claimed his parliamentary colleagues backed him on the issue.

“Most MPs from all parties think this is a bad thing and it shows how out of step and far removed the European courts are,” he said.

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