One of our regular viewers on 18 Doughty Street and a regular commenter on this blog is jailhouselawyer. His real name is . John Hirst and he has strong views on the issue of prisoners being given the right to vote. It was he (while serving a sentence for manslaughter) who took the government to the European Court of Human Rights and won. As a result, the government, through gritted teeth, has issued a consultation document today outlining the possible ways forward..
At the last election the LibDems supported giving prisoners, including murderers and rapists, the right to vote. Mark Oaten believes now it cost them many votes. Nick Clegg has now reversed their position.
Government ministers are privately spitting blood about being forced down this road, but apparently the British government has never ignored an ECHR judgement so they think their hands are tied.
I remain of the view that if society judges your offence to be so serious that you should lose your liberty you should also lose your freedom to elect the government.
In the new year I'm going to invite John Hirst and a range of guests onto 18 Doughty Street to discuss the issue at length.