David Cameron is prepared to say that Britain's next parliament should consider changing the law to make it easier to ban extremist groups which actively promote terrorism, after the government decided that there are no grounds under current legislation to ban the Muslim Brotherhood.

The expected move by the prime minister is being seen in some Whitehall circles as a bid to soften the blow for some Middle Eastern countries which will be disappointed that the government has not banned the Muslim Brotherhood.

Downing Street is expected to make clear in its response to an official review of the Muslim Brotherhood that the law is defined too narrowly to ban extremist groups unless there is clear evidence that they are involved in the commission, promotion or implementing of terrorist acts. The prime minister is considering whether to recommend a review of the legislation in the Tory manifesto for the general election on 7 May.

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