Recently I wrote a letter to Steve Brine, Winchester’s MP, concerning a recent proposal by our government to not allow prisoners a vote in local and national elections thus denying them a basic human right to choose who represents them in the world of politics, I asked him;
- What he voted and why regarding prisoner voting.
I wasn’t happy with was the reply regarding how he voted against allowing prisoners to vote in local and national elections. I was presented with a letter with a single paragraph pertaining to prisoner voting.
As you may have seen on the numerous news outlets and politics websites, I have voted against giving prisoners the right to vote. I believe that if you break the law you cannot make the law, and the current system is both just and popular. However, that does not mean that rehabilitation of the prisoners while inside is something that should be neglected, and I believe there is much work to be done there.
By him stating in his own words that if people break the law, they cannot make the law, he, by his own admission, should not be in any sort of power to do so. I say this because, from what I gather, it is the law of the EU to allow prisoners to vote for their leaders and as a member of the EU, he is breaking that law!
In voting the way he did, he is helping our government break the law and allowing the UK to lose hundreds of millions of pounds of tax payers money in compensation to the prisoners who are not allowed to vote!
Now, obviously this is not acceptable and something should be done about this, but what? I have written another letter to Steve Brine, the local Winchester MP asking him to justify his reasons for voting the way he did, knowing full well that if this does come to pass, it could cost the country approximately 140 million pounds in tax payers hard earned money, when this could be better spent on the NHS and schools etc.
The reply I got was as follows.
The governments position on this is clear. It wants to do the absolute minimum necessary to avoid paying compensation to prisoners. It therefore has to rely on legal advice as to what the minimum is, but will only do the minimum.
The government does not have a problem with backbenchers debating this – it is for them now to set their issues for debate.
In deciding how to proceed, we have been guided by three principles:
- that we should implement the Hirst judgement in a way that meets our legal obligations, but goes no further;
- that the most serious offenders should not be given the right to vote; and
- that we should seek to prevent the taxpayer having to face future claims for compensation.
I realise that we will continue to disagree on the principle here, but I hope this sets out clearly our position.
Aside from him calling me a bigot it seems that the government wants to abide by the EU law giving prisoners the right to vote, but wants to do absolute minimum to not get in trouble. Frankly I think that this is still unacceptable. There is no reason why prisoners should not be allowed their right to vote, they are part of society as much as the next person and obviously the government dictated how the prison system is run!
Although, the government doesn’t want to get in trouble and make us, the tax payer, pay for their defiance, it still doesn’t excuse the fact that they are only willing to do the bare minimum for the people who are in prison.
I wonder if Steve Brine actually took the time to ask any of his constituents, like he should have done, because if I am not mistaken, he is, after all, representing the good people of Winchester and the surrounding area. I know I wasn’t asked, nor had I heard anything about the locals being asked.
Does this then mean that Steve Brine is abusing his powers to only vote for things that he sees fit to? What about the people that he represents? Was it even brought up at his “surgeries”? As I understand it, you need an appointment to see him between the hours, and I must stress, working hours, of 2 – 4pm on a Friday afternoon. Meaning it’s unlikely that anyone who works would be able to turn up! Not to mention that it’s on a one to one basis and not a group of people as you would expect, so very few people would be able to see him at all.
I dare you to reply to this Steve.