Prisoners in Britain may be given the vote because of David Cameron’s refusal to pull out of the European Convention on Human Rights, a leading QC and adviser to the Conservative Party has warned. Philip Hammond, the Foreign Secretary, has confirmed that pulling out of the convention is not “on the table” despite objections from both Theresa May, the Home Secretary, and Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary. Jonathan Fisher QC, who has advised the Conservatives on a British Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act, said it means that when “push comes to shove” the party will have to give way to Strasbourg judges on prisoner voting.
He warned that unless Britain withdraws from the convention it will have to “cede an element of sovereignty” to judges in Strasbourg. David Cameron has previously said that the prospect of prisoner voting makes him feel “physically sick”.
Mr Fisher said: “If we want to stay lawful we are going to have to cede on it. In terms of the law, they don’t have to do very much to satisfy the European court on this. It can be done, but the question is whether you want to do it.
“If push comes to shove, and we do something in one of our cases that the European court doesn’t like, then at the ultimate level we are obliged to follow the court’s position.