A refusal to act on a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that Britain's current ban on prisoner voting is unlawful would "undermine the standing of the UK," said a cross-parliamentary committee.
This committee considers it would be wholly disproportionate for Parliament to take the grave step of undermining the international rule of law, which the United Kingdom has worked for so many decades to defend and promote, for the sake of a small modification of domestic law.
– Parliamentary committee report
The committee wants prisoners who are nearing the end of their sentences to be able to vote and said the Government had failed to set out a "plausible" case for maintaining the existing blanket ban.
Prisoners serving short sentences or approaching the end of their time behind bars should be given the vote, a cross-party parliamentary committee has recommended.
The committee said it would be "wholly disproportionate" for the UK to defy a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights and said the Government had failed to set out a "plausible" case for maintaining the existing blanket ban.
It called on the Government to table a Bill granting the vote in local, general and European elections to those serving less than 12 months or within six months of release, with exceptions for those convicted of particularly serious crimes.
47 ministers on the Council of Europe have said the UK's plans for prisoner voting are not in line with the convention.
The committee of ministers in Strasbourg, which oversees the European Court of Human Rights, has confirmed continuing with the third option in the draft parliament bill on voting would breach the UK's obligation to enforce the court's decisions.