However, it might have been good to have been given a statement of intent from the Scottish Government. There was no declaration as to what position they would have adopted had they been given this power. This is a question that should be put to all candidates in the forthcoming Scottish Parliament election…
The issue of Prisoner Voting arose once more in the Scottish Parliament. The debate centred around the Section 30 notice that granted the Parliament permission to alter the voting arrangements so that 16 and 17 years olds can vote in Scottish elections. As one would expect, the bill was called the Scottish Elections (Reduction in Voting Age) Bill.
Alison McInnes Lib Dem MSP for North East Scotland moved an amendment to the bill that would have allowed 16 and 17 year olds in custody to vote in the election along with other 16 and 17 year olds in Scotland. She argued that the Section 30 notice (permission from Westminster to change a reserved matter) did not specify that the vote would be restricted for some 16 and 17 year olds who were in custody. She further argued that the Bill which restricts the franchise might not be compliant with the European Convention on Human Rights which have already ruled that blanket bans on prisoner voting are incompatible with the convention.
The Scottish Government rejected this argument. They put forward the argument that the Section 30 notice did not give them the power to change the representation of the Peoples Act 1983, which is currently a reserved matter.
The votes were cast and the amendment fell.