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MP: No vote for those held in secure prisons

By Lewis Dyson

Sittingbourne and Sheppey MP Gordon Henderson

MP Gordon Henderson has said he will go against any ruling that gives prisoners who are not in open jails the right to vote.

Following a seven-year battle with the European Court of Human Rights, it is thought the government will reveal a draft bill on Thursday, November 22 laying out three options for MPs to consult on.

It follows the 2005 ruling from the court which said denying inmates the vote is a breach of their human rights, something the UK has always disagreed with.

A free vote is expected to be held next year on keeping with the current ruling – a blanket ban.

Mr Henderson 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 society.

“David Cameron has said prisoners would get the vote ‘over his dead body’ and I suspect that’s what he means,” Mr Henderson said.

“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, you not only lose the right of your freedom, but you lose all the other privileges to which you are entitled and votPrime Minister David Cameron delivers local election and no to AV speech at New Line Learning Academy, Boughton Lane, Loose.ing is a privilege, not a right.

“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 their rehabilitation.

“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 Times Guardian has reported in the past on concerns that if those in jail were given the vote, it could mean Sheppey’s 3,000 prison population had a say in Island elections.

However Mr Henderson said prisoners would not have a say in Island politics, unless their home address was on Sheppey, as they would register for where they lived and where they would be released to.

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