The UK government should end the blanket ban on prisoners voting, a Liberal Democrat MP has argued.
During a Commons debate on 10 February 2011 on whether the franchise should be extended to prisoners, Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake said it was "time for the government to bite the bullet and do the right thing".
The motion for debate called on the Commons to reject a 2005 European Court of Human Rights ruling that prisoners must have the right to vote.
The government objects to the ruling but says it has a duty to comply with international obligations.
Rising to speak Mr Brake said he feared "cutting a lonely figure" arguing in favour of allowing prisoners to vote, being one of only a handful of MPs to do so.
He told MPs: "Prisoners have committed a crime, their punishment is to lose their liberty - that is fair and just. What is then gained by seeking to inflict civil death on them?"
He went on: "We do not remove prisoners' access to healthcare or we do not stop them practising their religion, so why should we impose a blanket ban on a prisoner's right to vote?"
He pointed out that prisoners on remand awaiting trial, fine defaulters and people jailed for contempt of court are already permitted to vote, and accused people of misleading the public by presenting the issue "in black and white, as a new departure here for the first time".
Labour's Kate Green supported his calls for votes for prisoners and welcomed the debate as an "opportunity" to extend the understanding of human rights.
MPs approved the backbench motion by 234 votes to 22, a majority of 212.
While the vote is not binding of the government it will put pressure on ministers to water down proposals on prisoner voting rights, which are expected to be put to the Commons before the summer recess.
Watch part one of the debate