The killer whose human rights case has paved the way for prisoners to get the vote in Britain for the first time has taunted ministers by toasting his success on YouTube with Champagne and a joint.
John Hirst, who hacked his landlady to death with an axe, was apparently celebrating for the 75,000 prisoners who will be getting the vote, including thieves, murderers, rapists and paedophiles.
In 2004, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the blanket ban imposed by Britain on prisoners’ rights to vote was discriminatory following Hirst’s legal challenge. The last Labour government delayed lifting the ban.
Prisoners who have been sentenced were originally denied the right to take part in ballots under the 1870 Forfeiture Act, and the ban was retained in the Representation of the People Act of 1983.
That’s all about to change now, although the exact details of the changes have yet to be worked out.