EU's highest court says EU nation can ban prisoniers from voting in EU elections

The European Union's highest court has ruled that a member state can ban prisoners guilty of serious offenses from voting in EU elections in a decision which was keenly awaited in Britain.

The European Court of Justice said Tuesday that France was within its rights to deny a prisoner who had been stripped of his civil rights to keep him from voting. It said the ban was "proportionate in so far as it takes into account the nature and gravity of the criminal offense."

Britain is currently debating its position within the European Union and has been extremely sensitive to any move than could undermine national decision-making on vital issues. Britain does not allow prisoners to vote.