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Griffiths leads revolt against prison votes

Thursday 10th February 2011 (Andrew Griffiths)
Griffiths leads revolt against prison votes

BURTON’S MP is today set to lead a Tory backbench rebellion against Government proposals to give prisoners the vote.

Andrew Griffiths has been lobbying fellow MPs and urging them to vote against giving prisoners the ballot.

He said: “I do not want prisoners to be able to vote and I intend to rebel by voting against the Government proposal.” The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that Britain is acting unlawfully by not allowing prisoners the vote.

The House of Commons will decide this afternoon whether to ignore the court ruling and instead have to pay compensation to inmates.

The total compensation bill would cost the taxpayer around £100 million.

Ministers and shadow ministers will not take part in the Commons vote and parties have not been instructed to vote either way, making it a truly free vote.

Mr Griffiths said: “I fully sympathise that the Government has been forced by the European courts to bring forward this proposal, but if it came into law it would outrage 99 per cent of the people in Burton I represent.

“We should be more concerned about the rights of the victim than the rights of the criminal. I want to send Europe a clear message that Parliament and the British public do not agree with this proposal.”

He continued: “What I hope will come of it is that it will give the Government more confidence to resist the European courts and to fight as much as possible any plan to give votes to convicted criminals.

“It is a cause I am very passionate about and it is an opportunity to put the wishes and needs of the electorate ahead of party politics.

“I think the Government is in no doubt just how unpopular this plan is and I do not think it will be a surprise if the Government is defeated but it is one of those issues where the views of the public must be heard.”

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