MP denies EU U-turn about prisoners voting

Mike Hancock MP
Mike Hancock MP
Chancellor Philip Hammond holding his red ministerial box outside 11 Downing Street, London, before heading to the House of Commons to deliver his Budget

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A PORTSMOUTH MP has denied claims he acted hypocritically by voting to deny prisoners the vote in the UK.

Portsmouth South’s Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock last week voted in Parliament against extending the right to vote to those in jail.

But Tory-supporting websites, including Tory Torch, claimed Mr Hancock had, just days before, spoken in favour of the policy at the EU.

Tory Torch said: ‘It was surprising to see Mike Hancock in that Division lobby when days earlier he was supporting a report and motion from the Parliamentary Assembly for the Council of Europe which strongly criticised the UK over it.’

But Mr Hancock, who had spoken in Strasbourg on January 26 on a European Court of Human Rights report which included the recommendations, said: ‘That wasn’t what I said in my speech.

‘I spoke in favour of making sure the court could be organised properly, because all the EU’s member states have to have confidence in it.

‘At the moment, it’s a mess. There are some people who apply who really aren’t suitable for posts, and it’s a gravy train for lawyers looking to make money, rather than furthering justice.

‘I am opposed to giving prisoners votes, and I don’t believe the EU has the right to impose it on us.

‘Though I suppose we will have to wait and see.

‘I took part in the vote so we could show how strong feeling is here about it.’