Theresa May is to risk incurring the wrath of Conservative MPs by granting voting rights to some prisoners, it has been reported.
Prisoners sentenced to less than a year in jail and who are let out on day release will allowed to return home to vote after Justice Secretary David Lidington decided to end the existing total ban, according to The Sunday Times.
The move follows a 12-year wrangle between the UK and the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg which has repeatedly ruled the blanket ban breaches prisoners’ human rights.
The former prime minister David Cameron once said the thought of prisoners being given the vote made him feel “physically sick”.
Lidington was reported to have circulated his proposals to other ministers last week.
However Tory MP Peter Bone told The Sunday Times: “I’m not in favour of letting prisoners vote. I find it extraordinary. It’s a bonkers decision. I think a lot of MPs will be concerned about this.”
Philip Davies, the Conservative MP for Shipley, said: “I am wholly opposed to it. I am against giving prisoners the vote. Prisoners released on temporary licence are still prisoners. They are what they say on the tin: Prisoners.
“I don’t recognise the validity of the court’s decision. The court has made a mistake here, not the Government.
“Whether prisoners should have the vote is a matter that should be decided by a democratically elected Parliament.
“I am afraid it is totally unacceptable and what the Government should be more concerned with is delivering what the British people want rather than trying to pacify pseudo judges in Strasbourg who do not know what they are talking about.”
A Government spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on speculation. Our policy on prisoner voting is well established – it remains a matter for the UK to determine, and offenders in prison cannot vote.”