Mr Grieve was very clear that the UK should stick to its treaty obligation and introduce votes for prisoners, but this should be to a minimal in his position as he does not agree with prisoners having the right to vote. He then went on to say that he will be voting for prisoners to have this right if they are locked up for 6 months or less if the proposed bill after scrutiny is not re-drafted. Mr Grieve said that ‘the ECHR is a treaty and it binds us so we must observe what the court says. We have in Britain a tradition of observing our treaties and by not doing so would cause international damage to our reputation. Other countries will think what rules will we break next’. The Attorney General believes that ‘this is such a small issue and would jeopardise our international standing. We should pull out of the treaty if we strongly wish to make it an issue but no one is suggesting that’. He then followed this by stating that we don’t have a blanket ban on prisoners voting as those on remand, not sentenced and those guilty of contempt of court can vote.
The Attorney General also revealed he would abstain in the vote in the new proposed Marriage Equality Bill. Dominic Grieve wished to call gay marriage civil union rather than civil marriage to try placate those who take issue with the Bill. Mr Grieve from the talk that he gave seems very involved with his constituency despite being hectically working in his non-cabinet but attending cabinet role. It may be that he is very aware of disquiet amongst all local associations and thus this is why he has chosen to not vote. More specifically Dominic Grieve will be voting for the Bill at its first stage but will not be doing so at the 2nd stage
Overall Dominic Grieve gave an excellent talk and even staying around to speak to us personally about anything. I personally find him open and not at all smarmy. And would like to thank him for his speech.