A HOLYROOD committee has raised concerns over the way prisoners have been given the vote for the first time in Scotland since the Victorian era.

The SNP Government last week used emergency legislation to give around five inmates on short sentences a chance to vote in this month’s Holyrood byelection in Shetland.

Constitutional Relations Secretary Michael Russell used rare legislation known as a remedial order to bypass the usual parliamentary process.

He said it was necessary to comply with a European court ruling that the 149-year-old blanket ban on prisoner voting is breach of human rights.

However Holyrood’s Delegated Powers and Law Reform Committee has complained it was not given advance notice and time to scrutinise the measure, despite the byelection date being known two weeks before Mr Russell acted.

It has written to him seeking clarification over whether the Scottish Government intends to revoke the remedial order following the by-election.

Tory convener Graham Simpson said : “We only received notification of this remedial order the day before it came into effect and this meant we did not have adequate time to assess the proposed change.

“Although we are currently in recess, it is essential for the integrity of the Parliament that suitable scrutiny of any legislation takes place.

“That’s why it is essential that our concerns are addressed.”

Mr Russell said he was “happy” to answer questions on this issue.