Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Minister Defiant over Ban on Prisoner Votes ; Grayling's Warning over European Ruling 'Parliament Sovereign and Has the Final Say'

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Minister Defiant over Ban on Prisoner Votes ; Grayling's Warning over European Ruling 'Parliament Sovereign and Has the Final Say'

Article excerpt

THE government was on a collision course with European judges after the Justice Secretary insisted it would have the final say on prisoner votes.

Chris Grayling, who announced that a joint committee of both Houses of Parliament will look at the issue, stressed that Parliament was 'sovereign' and had the power to defy the European Court of Human Rights on letting prisoners vote. Even if Strasbourg tried to impose fines, MPs could choose not to pay them. The approach was branded 'inadequate' by prisoners' lawyers, who accused the government of trying to stall until after the general election.

Mr Grayling set out his plans to MPs on the eve of a deadline for complying with the judgment - part of a fight that has been running since 2005.

He said the government had an 'obligation' under international law to bring forward proposals to obey the ruling. But he also pointed to David Cameron's comments that the idea of giving prisoners the vote made him feel 'physically ill'. …

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