European court upholds right of countries to ban prisoners from voting


The European Court of Justice has upheld the right of member states to ban prisoners convicted of serious crimes from voting.

In a case which is being closely watched in the UK, the Luxembourg-based court ruled that the voting ban imposed by the French government on a convicted murderer was "proportionate".

It concluded that it was possible for member states to maintain a ban which precludes individuals convicted of serious crimes from voting in elections to the European Parliament.

Former prisoner, Thierry Delvigne, had claimed that a ban on him voting violated his right enshrined in the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights entitling citizens to take part in European elections wherever they live in the EU.

Speaking shortly before the judgment was announced, David Cameron insisted that he was determined maintain Britain's blanket ban on prisoner voting, whatever the outcome of the case.

"I haven't changed my view at all," he told LBC radio.

"Our own law has been tested recently and our Supreme Court opined that our law was right and prisoners shouldn't have the vote, and that's my view.

"I'm very clear prisoners shouldn't get the vote and it's a matter for the British Parliament. The British Parliament has spoken and the Supreme Court in Britain has spoken so I'm content to leave it there."