Opposition voiced to giving vote to inmates

POLITICAL parties have hit out at reforms that could allow prisoners to take part in Scotland’s independence referendum.

A ruling by the European Court of Human Rights said yesterday that prisoners in the UK must be given the vote, upholding a previous ruling that a blanket ban on inmates being able to vote was unlawful.

However, the court signalled the UK government could decide which prisoners should be enfranchised, meaning serious offenders such as murderers and rapists could be excluded.

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A Scottish Government spokeswoman said yesterday that Westminster remained in charge on saying who might take part in an election in Scotland.

A spokesman said: “The Scottish Government does not agree that convicted prisoners should be able to vote while they are in prison.

“The UK government retains responsibility for the franchise for elections in Scotland, and the limited devolution in the Scotland Act does not change this.”

However, Scottish Conservative chief whip John Lamont said: “The Scottish Conservatives would strongly resist any ruling forcing us to allow prisoners to vote to decide Scotland’s most important vote in 300 years.”

Professor Alan Miller, chairman of the Scottish Human Rights Commission, said: “It is to be hoped that the UK will act, as it has urged other countries to do, by applying the European Convention domestically.”