Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rights Law Is for the 'Unpleasant' Says Ken Clarke

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rights Law Is for the 'Unpleasant' Says Ken Clarke

Article excerpt

Byline: Martin Bentham Home Affairs Editor

KEN CLARKE today admitted that human rights laws usually benefit "rather unpleasant people" as he insisted that the Government had no choice but to give prisoners the vote.

The Justice Secretary said that ministers had to comply with a European Court of Human Rights ruling that Britain's ban on inmates participating in elections was unlawful.

In a concession to Tory backbenchers, who will tomorrow try to block the reform in the Commons, Mr Clarke insisted that he would only do the "minimum" necessary to obey the law and that "murderers and rapists" would be excluded.

But he risked stoking the row further by conceding that human rights law, which has also been used by terror suspects and killers to avoid deportation, was principally used by those on the wrong side of the law.

"Human rights law tends to be applied to rather unattractive and unpleasant people," he told the BBC. "These issues always come out with people who are not very popular. …

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