London, Feb 6 (IANS) An Indian-origin parliamentarian in Britain has faced a racist attack for opposing the cause of a convicted killer who is leading the campaign to give prisoners the right to vote, a media report said Sunday.
John Hirst, who served 25 years in jail for killing his 69-year-old landlady with an axe, unleashed a stream of vitriol against Conservative MP Priti Patel, branding her a “Paki”, a “foreign import” and even insulting her looks, the Daily Mail reported.
“The ‘Paki’ Priti Patel is far from pretty — in fact she is ugly as hell!” he wrote on his blog, Jailhouselawyer.
Hirst, 60, added: “Unlike the foreign import Patel, I am a Brit born and bred.”
Born in London, Patel, the ruling Conservative Party’s first woman MP of Asian descent, is the child of Ugandan Indian immigrants.
Hirst’s obscene outbursts come ahead of this week’s crunch session in the House of Commons on the prisoners’ right-to-vote issue, the daily said.
In 2005, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in favour of Hirst’s case that the denial of his right to vote while he was in prison was a breach of his human rights.
Last year, under pressure from the court, the government announced it would comply with the ruling and enfranchise prisoners serving sentences of four years or less.
But Tory and Labour backbenchers have joined forces in an attempt to defy the ECHR and refuse to enfranchise all convicts, despite warnings that it could lead to tens of millions of pounds being paid to inmates in compensation.
On his blog, Hirst said: “If Patel wasn’t so stupid she would understand that passing another Bill trying to establish the UK’s supremacy (on) how it treats prisoners is a non-starter.”
It was “a bit rich” for her to accuse the European Court of “bullying” Britain, he claimed, “when it is the UK which has been found guilty of bullying convicted prisoners by denying them their human right to the vote”.
He added that if Patel was “an honest woman instead of being corrupt” then she would not be calling for the government and parliament to stand up to Europe, she would be “condemning them for their abuse of the most vulnerable group in society — prisoners”.
Hirst also accused Patel and fellow Conservative Claire Perry, a former banker who believes British judges should decide which prisoners should have the right to vote, of “expenses-fiddling”.
In fact, the two women only entered the Commons last May and neither has been accused of any expenses irregularities, the report said.
Patel, MP for Witham, Essex county, said Saturday night: “These comments are beneath contempt. My argument on votes for prisoners is based on principle, not inaccurate slurs and racist abuse.”
“I believe that people are in prison for a reason. You lose the right to vote once you commit a crime.”
Perry dismissed Hirst’s remarks as “lowlife rantings”.
Hirst was jailed in 1979 for killing landlady Bronia Burton by hitting her up to seven times on the head with an axe after she asked him to go outside and get some coal for the fire.
Hirst denied the murder, but pleaded guilty to manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility. He served 25 years before being released in 2004.
Hirst Saturday refused to apologise for his slurs, saying his blog was designed to “provoke” a response.