"This court should have no right to interfere with the judgements of our courts and our Parliament. Mr Cameron and his Coalition government should recognise the deep anger and distaste throughout the country on this matter and remind the ECHR that as a sovereign nation we choose to ignore this and any other rulings that they might make in the future." - William Dartmouth MEP
Picture: UKIP MEPs Paul Nuttall, Gerard Batten, William Dartmouth and Derek Clark next to the Strasbourg court. Click to enlarge.
•Standing outside the ECHR court in Strasbourg today a group of UKIP MEPs and assistants held a protest as the judgement on the Scoppola case was announced.
Paul Nuttall, UKIP MEP for England North East responding to the Scoppola v. Italy judgement given today at 4 p.m., said:
"The UKIP position is there should be a blanket ban of votes for prisoners. This is a bad judgment from a Mickey Mouse court. We should not have to come cap in hand to a foreign court seeking to defend the clear wishes of the British parliament and people.
"Pass David Cameron the sick bag because this judgment means that British prisoners will get the vote - some of them at least.
"This judgment will cause major ructions in the coalition over arguments on who can and who cannot vote, with the LibDems looking for all prisoners to have a say in elections and the Tories being more restrictive.
"It also opens up a can of worms for more and more legal challenges to the ECHR and claims in the British courts with people playing the 'human rights game.'
"It is an appalling judgement, a slap in the face to the British democratic process and once again signals the UK cannot escape this ECHR judgment as long as we are signed-up members of the EU."
Further reactions came from UKIP MEPs William Dartmouth and Derek Clark.
William Dartmouth, the UK Independence Party MEP for the South West said, "A European Court has overruled the British Parliament who voted overwhelmingly to continue the centuries old tradition of denying prisoners the right to vote.
"The sovereignty of our Parliament has been set aside by a court of judges drawn from all over Europe, Moldova, Croatia, Turkey and even Andorra. It is a Mickey Mouse court making judgements worthy of Donald Duck."
Lord Dartmouth added, "What this court has done is not only to overrule parliament but to cause potential chaos throughout our legal system for years to come unless the Coalition Government back down and gives all prisoners the right to vote.
"The court says that a blanket ban is unlawful. But it also says that nations will have the right to decide which prisoners get the vote and who does not. The appeals resulting from this ruling could clog our appeals court for years and even then could be overruled by the ECHR." he said.
"This court should have no right to interfere with the judgements of our courts and our Parliament. Mr Cameron and his Coalition government should recognise the deep anger and distaste throughout the country on this matter and remind the ECHR that as a sovereign nation we choose to ignore this and any other rulings that they might make in the future."
In a letter to the press Derek Clark, UKIP MEP for the East Midlands, writes:
"The recent ruling whereby the European Court of Human Rights ordered Britain to give prisoners the vote within six months is an absolute fudge.
"It first said an automatic ban on votes for prisoners is incompatible with the right to free elections enshrined in the ECHR. Then it then accepted the UK Government's argument that each state has wide discretion on regulating the ban.
"The court did not give guidance as to our future legislation but there must be no lengthy delay to setting a timetable for amending our electoral law. The UK government must bring forward proposals within six months.
"So we cannot ban all convicted persons from the right to vote and must frame rules as to what types of crime merit a ban and whether that is to be mandatory or left to a judge to decide at the time of conviction.
"Our coalition Government now has six months to frame the new laws and decide if judges are to be given discretion. This is open to controversy.
"If the vote ban kicks in at a certain length of sentence for a given crime the judge now has to consider the possible ban in deciding how long the sentence shall be! Counsel on both sides will be more than interested. If a there is a ban due to length of sentence is that the stated length or the actual time the judge orders must be served?
"A complete mess but we can expect nothing less from the EU. Please don't kid yourself that this is an independent court, it is nothing of the kind. It only has few actual judges and its function is to endorse the EU and to push it further along the path to a single state."
UK Independence Party (UKIP) in the European Parliament, Europe of Freedom and Democracy group, Rue Wiertz 60, 1047 Brussels, Belgium. - Website launched on 16.12.2009 Contact form for site-related issues