David Cameron’s coalition has six months to give prisoners the right to vote.
This is the ruling of The European Court of Human Rights, which claims our blanket ban on all serving prisoners’ right to vote breaches their human rights.
Our government will be able to decide how and to what degree they will give the vote to prisoners, but by November it looks almost certain that some jailbirds will be making their way to the ballot box.
The ban on sentenced prisoners voting dates back to 1870, and was found to be unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights in 2005.
It then took until 2010 for the Council of Europe, which carries out the court's rulings, to urge the UK to remedy the situation.
MPs are strongly opposed to the decision, last year rejecting the idea of allowing convicts to vote by 234 votes to 22, and many have promised to do the “minimum possible” to comply with the decree.
At present only prisoners on remand are allowed to vote.
MM took to the streets on a particularly sunny Saturday to see if the issue of prisoners’ votes were getting people hot under the collar. We asked...
Should prisoners have the right to vote?
Here's what you had to say:
Marine Tate, 57, retired, Stockport: “No, they should lose every right once they are sent to prison.”
Cat Hall, 19, student, Fallowfield: “Yes, they are human beings after all. They are still UK citizens, and therefore they are affected by the UK’s political issues.”
David Robinson, 22, placard bearer, Swinton: “They must be in prison for a reason, and so they should be taken out of society and not be able to influence it.”
Alison Cuthbert, 43, social worker, Hyde: “No, because they’re being punished – that’s the point of prison.”
Daniel Locke, 22, student, Rusholme: “Democracy is the right to vote for everybody, not just the people you agree with.”
Tom Lunn, 43, unemployed, Cheadle: “Yes. It’s part of the Human Rights Act, and they’re still human beings.”
Luke Allen, 21, council worker, Salford: “Changes in government can affect what happens to them inside.”
Alfred Kerr, 45, retired soldier, Wythenshawe: “As soon as you break the law, all your rights should be taken from you, and anyone who thinks otherwise should be locked up too.”