Scottish Conservatives only party to oppose prisoner voting

Scottish Conservative Shadow Justice Secretary Liam Kerr has highlighted several examples of hardened criminals who will be able to vote in a Scottish Parliament election for the first time in May.

Mr Kerr’s speech laid bare the examples of criminals, including a convicted rapist, a serial criminal serving a sentence for attacking a prison warder who had already had convictions for assaulting a police officer and robbery, and a prisoner serving a six month sentence for assaulting a nurse, who will all be given the vote.

His motion calling for an ECHR compliant ban on any prisoner voting in the Holyrood poll was rejected by every other party in the Scottish Parliament. The vote means that the Scottish Conservatives are the only party to oppose giving prisoners in jail the vote.

Over 500 prisoners will be eligible to vote in May’s election with Mr Kerr saying it is appalling that they will be participating in the democratic process.

He also challenged SNP Ministers in the chamber to say if they could look a victim of a crime in the eye and say it is acceptable convicted criminals in prison will be allowed to cast a vote in May’s election.

SNP MSP Fulton McGregor went even further stating he’d be open to giving all prisoners, which would mean murderers and child sex offenders, the right to vote.

Commenting, Scottish Conservative Shadow Justice Secretary Liam Kerr said: “Once again the Scottish Conservatives are the only party to oppose giving hundreds of prisoners in jail the vote in May’s election.

“This is one of the worst examples yet of the SNP’s soft-touch attitude towards criminals. It is absolutely appalling that those convicted of crimes such as serious sexual assault will be part of our democratic process in a matter of weeks.

“How can any SNP Minister or any politician who rejected our motion look a victim of crime in the eye and say it is acceptable that criminals should be allowed to cast a vote from the comfort of their cells?

“What a shameful message to send out to victims of these awful crimes. It is all too typical that the rights of victims are a complete afterthought for the SNP who have shown that they would rather be on the side of criminals.

“The Scottish Conservatives would bring forward a Victims Law as our first act in the next Scottish Parliament to end the SNP’s soft-touch justice system once and for all.”

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