"If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen."

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Prisoners' Votes 3/Final

The overwhelming sentiment this afternoon has been in favour of the Davis/Straw motion.  Richard Drax (Con, South Dorset) is making a strongly-worded speech at the moment - he'd like to resile completely from the ECHR.  He also raised the practical aspects of giving prisoners a vote - how are they canvassed?   In common with others he pointed out that we have one of the oldest democracies and shouldn't kow-tow to European Courts assuming primacy over our own.

Dominic Raab (Con, Esher & Walton) wound up the debate and spoke of Alfred the Great "smiting Vikings" to the pleasure of the Chamber.  Jacob Rees-Mogg intervened to point out that Alfred the Great was also in favour of low taxation.  Raab went on to claim that the ECHR would be able to do very little if Britain refused to adopt their ruling and it was time Parliament grew a backbone, "drew a line in the sand", over dealings with foreign jurisdictions.

Issues raised repeatedly include sovereignty, primacy, historical references, talk of a federal Europe, abuse of powers, all interspersed with glimmers of wit (though there's little one can do with a five-minute speech). Many MPs spoke of the anger of their constituents at the prospect of any prisoners having the vote and many asked the question: when do we stand and say thus far and no farther.  The House divided at quarter to six and the outcome is expected shortly.

Ayes: 234
Noes: 22

Let's see where Cameron goes from here.

Part 2
UPDATE:   How MPs voted and who abstained


  1. "Let's see where Cameron goes from here"

    Someone also needs to keep a very close eye/rein on that Europhile twat, Ken Clarke, who has never lost the habit of doing and saying whatever he wants, regardless of party policy, GV!

  2. Hi Spidey - well, Cameron signed him up so he must have known what he was taking on. Clarke's already said that whatever the outcome of the vote it will make no difference to govt policy on the ruling so ... ... Great democrat. He's past his use-by date, even for a Eurotwat.

  3. Constitutional crisis anyone?

  4. QM-we could do with one. Then maybe we can start all over again and get it right.

    GV-great write up. I just scribbled some lines about it at mine.


  5. There are two possibilities: either Cameron's playing a very clever game OR he's incredibly stupid. If he lets down his b/benchers after this vote they'll never forgive him.

  6. Ayes: 234
    Noes: 22
    Absent: 400

  7. That old fart Prescott was on Radio 2 about this today. He pointed out that UK Govt had signed up to the ECHR under Jack Straw.

    Interviewer asked how come Labour had not tackled the issue of prisoners rights and suggested that slippery Jack did not want to take the flack.

    Prescott "Maybe so".

    There's loyalty for you.

  8. Thanks for that, Banned. The majority of high-flying politicians can't spell 'integrity' or 'honour' - Prescott isn't someone I'd like to rub elbows with unless I had a custard pie in one hand and I don't think you would either.

    All ministers abstained, everyone else who was interested had a free vote - I'll check again on Hansard to find out who was missing.

    It's all tied in with the Council of Europe. As I said to Bucko, signing up to the EHCR is a pre-condition of being a member of the EU - yet the EU itself in its new format is still having accession talks with the ECHR. Once the EU's signed up it become's even more complicated to get out of it.

    Cameron must know this.


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