Nicola Sturgeon has been urged to allow all Scottish prison inmates to vote in the country’s elections by a majority of MSPs on Holyrood’s equalities committee. The committee said allowing prisoners to vote went to the heart of questions about a citizen’s responsibilities and the purpose of prison to rehabilitate offenders. Its conclusions, which were resisted by two Conservative MSPs but backed by its Scottish National party, Labour and Liberal Democrat members, will be seen a challenge to the first minister’s emphasis on her party’s progressive ideals.
While Alex Salmond was first minister, the SNP government repeatedly rejected calls for inmates to be allowed to vote, despite a series of European court of justice rulings that the UK’s ban on prisoners voting violated the European convention on human rights
Backed by most other parties, Sturgeon opposed efforts led by Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Green party co-convenor, to allow inmates to vote in the 2014 independence referendum, even though referendum law allowed her government to widen the franchise to include prisoners.