Tuesday, 2 November 2010
Some prisoners to vote
As Mark Pack has pointed out, there was a brief window between 1870 and now when being in gaol was no bar to voting. Labour was responsible for opening it and then closing it again. The liberal Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, later to be a founder of the Social Democrats, oversaw the passing of the Criminal Law Act 1967 and the Criminal Law Act (Northern Ireland ) 1967. This legislation abolished the division between felonies and misdemeanours and, as a result, removed that ban on voting in Parliamentary elections. Two years later, when Jenkins was at the Treasury and the more conservative James Callaghan was Home Secretary, the Representation of the People Act restored the ban.