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Winchester MP takes hardline stance on prisoners' rights
2:00pm Friday 27th December 2013 in News
WINCHESTER and Chandler’s Ford MP Steve Brine is in the middle of a highly charged debate around prisoners’ rights.
Mr Brine, who sits on a committee charged with scrutinising the Government’s draft bill on prisoners’ voting rights, has taken a hard line stance.
They published their report on Wednesday (December 18) and it will inform Parliament when it considers the issue next year.
Most members recommended that prisoners serving custodial sentences of 12 months or less, plus all prisoners in the last six months before release, should be able to vote in local, general and European elections.
But Mr Brine recommended putting two options to Parliament: the status quo, whereby prisoners serving custodial sentences cannot vote, and the option of allowing prisoners serving custodial sentences of less than 12 months, and those in the last 6 months before release, to vote.
Mr Brine said: “Whether Parliament accepts the majority or minority recommendations of this committee, it will need to consider whether it is right to extend the franchise to those denied their liberty and the right to engage in society as a result of serving a custodial sentence. Personally, I think we should uphold the current ban and have every right to do so as a piece of domestic policy.
“Parliament will also need to consider the extent to which it is content to permit the European Court of Human Rights to encroach into domestic policy areas that appear far removed from the original intentions of the drafters of the European Convention on Human Rights.”
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