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Published on February 10th, 2011 | by The Editor
Image © That may have been one of the many thoughts of an European judge when they heard the case brought by John Hirst, a convicted axe murderer. Today Parliament was blowing of its steam over the decision taking in Strasbourg to allow prisoners to vote. to which Cameron will have to react by the May elections or face paying millions in compensation. Despite this MP's have basked MPs backed a motion opposing the move by 234 to 22 - a majority of 212. This is a clear act of defiance by the backbenches. Today's decision is not binding but there is increasing pressures on minister to challenge the Strasbourg ruling. [caption id="" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Westminster by Wolfiewolf on Flickr"][/caption] The argument of John Hirst, is simple:  the UK courts have no say in the matter. Missing from his argument however, is the effect this ruling with have on the rehabilitation of prisoners in the UK. Government cuts have meant that services which aim to reduce re-offending are under increasing pressure; and the government will have to make the most of this opportunity to change its attitudes towards the rehabilitation of prisoners. The problem for conservative MP, Priti Patel, is that this is an undemocratic decision. She has even called for the UK to abandon the European Human Rights Convention, Highlighting that the UK has surrendered its sovereignty. Central to her protest is whether Europe’s decisions goes against the values that exist in the UK. The state of British Society has put Cameron’s leadership under scrutiny recently, his comments on the failure of multiculturalism was ill judged, and now Europe is forcing him to be more social responsible. Today’s debate has put rehabilitation of prisoners under the spot light. Nick Boles, Conservative MP for Grantham and Stamford had his views changed during the debate; he still feels that prisoner should not have the right to vote but that concedes that those with less than 6 months should be allowed to vote as a process of rehabilitation. As it stands most courts recognise this anyway, but what he admits is that voting is a form of rehabilitation. The decision in Strasbourg has made Westminster question how human rights are defined, and if voting is a civic right or absolute right.  Charities like the Lanford Trust shows that ex-offenders can be successful. Giving prisoners the vote wont bring an end to re-offending, and many prisoners may not even participate, but the government has been given a tool to ensure that this changes.

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Other countries in Europe allow prisoners to vote, so why not in the UK?

That may have been one of the many thoughts of an European judge when they heard the case brought by John Hirst, a convicted axe murderer. Today Parliament was blowing of its steam over the decision taking in Strasbourg to allow prisoners to vote. to which Cameron will have to react by the May elections or face paying millions in compensation.

Despite this MP’s have basked MPs backed a motion opposing the move by 234 to 22 – a majority of 212. This is a clear act of defiance by the backbenches. Today’s decision is not binding but there is increasing pressures on minister to challenge the Strasbourg ruling.

Westminster by Wolfiewolf on Flickr

The argument of John Hirst, is simple:  the UK courts have no say in the matter. Missing from his argument however, is the effect this ruling with have on the rehabilitation of prisoners in the UK. Government cuts have meant that services which aim to reduce re-offending are under increasing pressure; and the government will have to make the most of this opportunity to change its attitudes towards the rehabilitation of prisoners. The problem for conservative MP, Priti Patel, is that this is an undemocratic decision. She has even called for the UK to abandon the European Human Rights Convention, Highlighting that the UK has surrendered its sovereignty. Central to her protest is whether Europe’s decisions goes against the values that exist in the UK.

The state of British Society has put Cameron’s leadership under scrutiny recently, his comments on the failure of multiculturalism was ill judged, and now Europe is forcing him to be more social responsible. Today’s debate has put rehabilitation of prisoners under the spot light. Nick Boles, Conservative MP for Grantham and Stamford had his views changed during the debate; he still feels that prisoner should not have the right to vote but that concedes that those with less than 6 months should be allowed to vote as a process of rehabilitation. As it stands most courts recognise this anyway, but what he admits is that voting is a form of rehabilitation. The decision in Strasbourg has made Westminster question how human rights are defined, and if voting is a civic right or absolute right.  Charities like the Lanford Trust shows that ex-offenders can be successful. Giving prisoners the vote wont bring an end to re-offending, and many prisoners may not even participate, but the government has been given a tool to ensure that this changes.

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