The Government's controversial compulsory voting law, introduced following Simon Cowell's inquiry into record low turnout at the last General Election is facing legal challenge from a prisoner serving a 25 year sentence for armed robbery.
Bob Burst from Hull, East Yorkshire is arguing that the law discriminates against him because his incarceration denies him the opportunity to assess and scrutinise the proposals of the various political parties and to engage freely in democratic debate. "Without equal access to information, I should not have an equal duty to vote"
In an unprecedented move, MP's John Johnson (Cons) and Jack Sprat (Labour) have called a Parliamentary debate on the motion: "Voting is a civic duty. This house does not believe prisoners have the right to be absolved of this duty. It is for Parliament - not the Courts - to determine the law on this matter.'
In a joint statement Johnson and Sprat said 'It is our collective civic duty to vote. The idea that criminals of all people should be absolved of this responsibility is patently wrong and offends common views of fairness'
Should the court rule in Burst's favour, Sprat and Johnson say they hope Parliament will reject the judgement, potentially leading to a constitutional stand-off.