Why B1185 Must be Stopped [Op-ed]

Yesterday, Solidarity added yet another piece of legislation to their swelling repertoire with the reading of B1185 – otherwise known as the Prisoner Eligibility to Vote Bill. The legislation, put forward in the government’s name, would return Britain to the aberrant pre-2019 period in which, in a stark departure from the judicial history of this country, those found guilty of the most grievous crimes were still entitled to vote.

The legislation would undo the provisions of the Voting Eligibility (Prisoners) Bill 2019, thereby returning the franchise to those serving prison sentences in excess of six years. It is a bill that can be described as nothing short of galling. It would empower those who have not only found themselves summarily incapable of upholding the law to vote but would give those who don’t know the meaning of human decency, those who have committed crimes so monstrous the full details of them cannot be printed in this paper, more democratic responsibility than your mature teenager.  

B1185 would entitle to make the law those who cannot stop themselves from breaking the law in the most depraved and unconscionable way and is particularly objectionable in a country that for hundreds of years withheld the privilege of the franchise from its most disturbed and disturbing citizens.

The bill would see the likes of Rosemary West, perhaps England’s most notorious living female murderer, voting in the same elections as the average, law-abiding Briton. West was convicted of sexually abusing and brutally killing 10 women and girls at her home in Gloucester, on the now infamous Cromwell Street, with her husband Fred West – who killed himself in 1995 while waiting to stand trial for 12 murders.

Another monster, Michael Adebolajo, will be enfranchised by this act. Adebolajo, now in his thirties, horrified the nation when he hacked to death the British Army fusilier Lee Rigby on the streets of London. The Government claims that this legislation will make the UK a “beacon of democracy” – how will allowing this hateful coward to participate in elections make the UK a “beacon of democracy” in any way, Ministers?

And to top it all off, Levi Bellfield, the so-called “Bus-Stop Stalker”, will see his vote count as much as yours under the terms of this bill. Bellfield, aged 52, killed 2 women in sexually motivated attacks and seriously injured another. After he was convicted of these heinous crimes, Bellfield was arrested by Surrey Police on suspicion of killing a child, whom he abducted on her way back from school. He was found guilty of this appalling crime, making him not just a serial killer, but a child killer too. 

This publication speaks not for the victims or the families of the victims of these tragic and abhorrent crimes – that goes without saying. Instead, we react as we as humans, sickened, on a human level, by the unutterable cruelty of the crimes committed. It is not apparent to us, in any way, shape or form, how allowing these people to participate in England’s elections would deliver any democratic improvement whatsoever. Put simply, those who cannot abide by the law should not be given a role in shaping it – let alone these heartless, vicious monsters. To open up our elections to the likes of Levi Bellfield, Michael Adebolajo, and Rosemary West – those who are guilty of the crimes that shook Britain and united us in horror and heartache – would corrupt our cherished democratic processes unforgivably. That cannot be allowed to happen.

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