With exquisite timing, the Government tried yesterday to prevent more than 60,000 people from exercising their democratic right to vote. On the face of it, this seems to be a breach of their human rights.
Why, then, is an entire constituency of people excluded from freely expressing its choice of legislators next week? Because they are currently serving prison sentences.
The High Court pointed out in 2001 that Britain was one of only eight countries in Europe in which convicted prisoners could not vote. Another 20 European countries did not disenfranchise prisoners at all, the court noted, while a further eight had only limited disenfranchisement.