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Justice Secretary defiant on prisoner voting

Report by Lauren Hood, Video by Sarah Johnston

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling says a committee will consider proposals on prisoner voting, including the option of retaining the ban.

He announced that a joint committee of both Houses will look at the issue.

But he faces a collision course with European judges by insisting Parliament would have the final say on the decision.

Mr Grayling stressed that Parliament was "sovereign" and had the power to defy the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Even if Strasbourg tried to impose fines, MPs could choose not to pay them.

The approach was branded "inadequate" by prisoners' lawyers, who accused the Government of trying to stall until after the general election.

Shami Chakrabarti, director of campaign group Liberty, said: "If Britain is to honour Churchill's legacy of protecting the Rule of Law, the Mother of Parliaments must choose common sense and compromise over childish gesture.

"Why should oligarchs abroad and troubled teens at home respect the courts, if our own Government picks and chooses which judgements to obey?"

But former policing minister Nick Herbert urged the coalition to go further by withdrawing from the ECHR's jurisdiction altogether.


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