A senior Conservative MEP welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision dismissing appeals from two prisoners over the right to vote under European Union rules.
Timothy Kirkhope, Conservative spokesman on justice and home affairs in the European Parliament described the judgment as “Sound, sensible and offering clear direction”.
Convicted murderers Peter Chester and George McGeoch argued they had a right to vote under EU law - even though British law denies all prisoners the vote.
David Cameron tweeted <https://twitter.com/David_Cameron> that the ruling was “a great victory for common sense”.
Following a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling which told the UK it must end its blanket ban on prisoners voting, the Government has been considering potential legislation. But no plans for the shape of any proposed reform have been revealed yet.
Mr Kirkhope, Conservative MEP for Yorkshire and a former Home Office Minister, said: “The Prime Minister has it spot on. The judgment today is very welcome because it puts on record a very clear and important judicial statement about the position of UK law as it stands.
“One of the men in this case, Peter Chester, raped his niece and then murdered her. The Parole Board say he is too dangerous to be let out of Wakefield Prison. And yet he says society should allow him a vote.
“Well I don’t want his vote, thank you very much, and I don’t think any other self-respecting politician will either.”
“It might be in the longer term that the UK looks at legislation that differentiates between people in prison for summary offences and those in prison for longer periods for more-serious crimes. It might be possible to make some kind of allowance for more-petty criminals - perhaps those serving sentences of up to six months who were dealt with by magistrates courts.
“What we cannot do, and will not contemplate, is extending voting to dangerous and hardened criminals, those serving exacting prison sentences imposed by Crown Court judges. Especially the likes of Chester and McGeoch.
“This ruling fully backs that position - a position shared by all main parties as well as the vast weight of public opinion.”