THE PRIME Minister appeared to be at loggerheads with his chief law officer yesterday after ruling out giving prisoners the vote.
David Cameron moved to clarify his position amid speculation that the coalition was preparing legislation on the issue.
Giving evidence to MPs yesterday, Attorney General Dominic Grieve said a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling against the blanket ban “imposes an international legal obligation on us”.
Tory MPs reacted with fury to reports that the government was preparing a draft bill to comply with the ECHR ruling.
The claims prompted speculation that the coalition was backing down in the long-running battle with Strasbourg. But Mr Cameron told the Commons: “No-one should be in any doubt. Prisoners are not getting the vote under this government.”
He pointed out that in February last year the House called by an overwhelming margin of 234 to 22 for the blanket ban to be maintained.
That motion was not binding on the government, but Mr Cameron signalled that he was ready to hold another vote “to put the legal position beyond doubt”.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, he said: “The House of Commons has voted against prisoners having the vote.
“I don’t want prisoners to have the vote, and they should not have the vote.”