Scottish Prisoners Million Pound Payout For Lost Election Vote
Scottish prisoners are set to cash in on compensation claims after they were denied the right to vote in this year's Holyrood elections. Leading lawyers believe that the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling in 2005, that blanket banning all prisoners from voting was illegal, applies to these elections.
The British government had believed that the ruling only applied to Westminster and European elections. They could now see claims for millions of pounds of taxpayers' money to be paid out in compensation to prisoners denied the right to vote in Scottish jails.
Leading legal experts said that compensation claims amounting to millions of pounds were now "inevitable".
Aidan O'Neill QC, a prisoner rights expert, yesterday told MPs that the UK goverenment is open to to legal challenge from convicts if they were not allowed to vote in the May 5 elections for devolved administrations.
Despite the warning the coalition government has said that it has no plans to give prisoners the vote in time for for the Holyrood elections in May. They will be introducing changes to the rights of prisoners to vote but only starting in August.
A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed that no changes were planned for May and that: "The government is getting advice from its own lawyers."