MP Gordon Henderson rejects giving inmates in secure prison right to vote
Prisoners could be allowed to vote
by Emma Grove
A Kent MP has vowed to oppose any ruling giving
prisoners not in open jails the right to vote.
Following a seven-year battle with the European Court of Human
Rights, the government is thought to be revealing a draft bill
today laying out three options for consultation.
Conservative Gordon Henderson's Sittingbourne and
Sheppey constituency is home to the Sheppey Prison
Cluster, which has the biggest concentration of inmates in
He said he would go against giving the vote to any inmate
in a secure prison - but can see an argument for those in open
prisons being given the privilege to help them integrate back into
Mr Henderson said: "David Cameron has said prisoners would get
the vote 'over his dead body' and I suspect that's what he
"I will certainly vote against giving the vote to any prisoner
in a secure prison because when you commit a crime of such
seriousness it requires you to be locked up in a secure prison.
only lose the right of your freedom, but you lose all the other
privileges to which you are entitled and voting is a privilege, not
"There is an argument for saying once inmates are transferred
from a secure prison like Swaleside to an open one like Standford
Hill they should be allowed to register for the vote as part of
"If the government came up with a proposal it could be something
I could possibly support as long as there was no question of people
in a secure prison being allowed to vote."
The draft bill follows a 2005 ruling from the
European court that said denying inmates the vote is a
breach of their human rights - something the UK has always
A free vote is expected to be held next year on keeping a
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