TV viewers who dodge the BBC licence fee could be spared jail, after it is believed ministers are supporting an amendment to the Deregulation bill, which would withdraw criminal sanctions.
The abolition of the BBC licence fee came a step closer on Thursday when Downing Street backed plans to decriminalise non-payment.
All three main parties will vote on Tuesday to end the threat of prison sentences for fee dodgers.
More than 180,000 viewers across the country, almost 3,500 a week, appeared in court in 2012 accused of watching TV without a licence.
Ministers are in favour of an amendment to the Deregulation Bill that would withdraw the criminal sanctions when the BBC’s charter comes up for renewal in 2016.
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