24 October 2012

Climbdown alert

It's a quandary, or a dilemma, or maybe just another car crash.  The Guardian reports:

David Cameron appeared to slap down his senior law officer in the House of Commons over voting rights for prisoners as he told MPs that prisoners would never get the vote under his government.
Just two hours earlier, Dominic Grieve, the attorney general, had told a parliamentary committee Britain could be thrown out of the Council of Europe and be subject to large compensation claims if it ignored a European court of human rights (ECHR) ruling that prisoners should be allowed to vote.
But Cameron told prime minister's questions he was prepared, if necessary, to put the issue beyond doubt by staging another Commons vote to reject the court's ruling that British prisoners should be given a limited right to vote.
The prime minister told the Commons: "No one should be in any doubt. Prisoners are not getting the vote under this government." 
We'll see.  Staging another vote in the Commons will no more resolve the issue than the first vote did.
Besides, why die in a ditch over the matter?  It is not as if ECHR is demanding that the franchise is extended to all prisoners.  Would it really damage democracy so badly if some lower category prisoners were allowed to vote?


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