Criminals will be invited to vote for the head of the police force under new laws to be introduced by the Government, a Labour MP has warned.

Steve McCabe (Lab Selly Oak) asked the Prime Minister to justify the proposal, as he spoke in the House of Commons.

But David Cameron was forced to admit he had given in to demands from the European Court of Human Rights to give prisoners the vote.

It follows the Government’s announcement that it will comply with the court’s 2004 judgment which ruled the UK’s blanket ban on sentenced prisoners voting was illegal.

Furious MPs have demanded to know whether ministers plan to give murderers, rapists and paedophiles the vote as a result of the ruling.

But Mr McCabe raised a new issue in the Commons, as he suggested that allowing prisoners to vote in elections would mean they could vote for the new directly-elected police chiefs, which the coalition plans to introduce.

The Government says elected police commissioners will ensure forces are responding to the concerns of local residents.

Mr McCabe asked the Prime Minister: “How does he view the prospect of prisoners electing the new police and crime commissioners?”

As Labour MPs roared with laughter, Mr Cameron said the Government had no choice but to accept the ruling.

He accused the previous government of wasting money by trying to fight against the judgement when it was ultimately certain to lose.

The Prime Minister: “The honourable gentlemen makes another excellent point about why this such a bad proposal, but I’m afraid we have to deal with the situation in front of us.

“Are we going to delay and delay, and waste another £160 million of taxpayers’ money, or are we going to take difficult action and explain it to the British public as best we can?

“I don’t think we have a choice if we are going to do the right thing to save the Exchequer money.”

Ministers are still working out how exactly the Government will comply with the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling.