By politics.co.uk staff

David Davis has called for the Commons to be given the final say over whether prisoners should have the right to vote.

The former shadow home secretary told BBC1’s Question Time programme he was unhappy with the European court of human rights’ (EHR) ruling earlier this week that prisoners should not be disenfranchised.

Prime minister David Cameron had explained he had no choice but to obey the court’s ruling, but Mr Davis said it would be hard for the ECHR to “overturn the decision of a democratic body like parliament”.

“They said in the judgment that one of the reasons they made this decision was because there had been no debate in parliament,” he said.

“Maybe they didn’t go back to 1867. Maybe they didn’t realise there was a democracy here then but that’s when it was debated and we made a decision.”

Earlier this week Frances Crook of the Howard League for Penal Reform argued in a comment piece for politics.co.uk that prisoners deserve the right to exercise their citizenship by voting.

“We infantilise prisoners, treating grown up men inside as if they were small children who are not allowed to decide what they wear, what they do or make any contribution to the running of their lives,” she argued.

“This is counter-productive and being engaged as citizens is one of the ways people can be prepared for release so they can lead crime-free lives and be positive citizens back in the community.”