UK can snub prisoner rule says Grayling

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Parliament has the right in law to tell the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) that it does not accept its ruling on votes for prisoners, Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said yesterday.

David Cameron made clear last week that he has no intention of complying with the ruling, telling MPs: “No-one should be in any doubt – prisoners are not getting the vote under this Government.”

His emphatic declaration appeared at odds with Attorney General Dominic Grieve, who said the ECHR ruling against the blanket ban on votes for prisoners “imposes an international legal obligation on us”.

But Mr Grayling yesterday insisted there was no split within the Government. There were precedents elsewhere in Europe for signatories to the European Convention on Human Rights defying the court, but Ministers had to be “very careful” in devising a response, he said.

Mr Grayling declined to say whether he could contemplate the UK withdrawing from the convention, but confirmed that he was preparing proposals for reform .