Prime Minister David Cameron was said to have reluctantly accepted that there was no way of maintaining the 140-year-old ban on sentenced prisoners voting in general elections, according to BBC political correspondent Reeta Chakrabarti.Whatever the merits of allowing prisoners to vote, this latest submission to the will of the European Court of Human Rights should leave people in no doubt that our sovereignty is endangered by the EU project.
However, he will resist allowing the vote to those prisoners who have committed the most serious offences, our correspondent adds.
Prisoners on remand awaiting trial, fine defaulters and people jailed for contempt of court are already permitted to vote but more than 70,000 prisoners currently serving sentences in UK jails are prevented.
Prisoners were originally denied the right to vote while serving a sentence under the 1870 Forfeiture Act and the ban was retained in the Representation of the People Act of 1983.
Following a legal challenge brought by John Hirst, who was convicted of manslaughter, a final European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling in 2005 said the blanket ban was discriminatory and breached the European Convention on Human Rights.