EU nationals to be excluded from in/out referendum
SNP brand proposals “perverse” and call for extension of franchise
Most migrants from the European Union will not be allowed to vote in the referendum on Britain’s membership, Downing Street has suggested.
A source told Politics Home the franchise for the vote will be based on the eligibility criteria used for the general election, which means citizens of Ireland, Malta, Cyprus and the Commonwealth can register to vote, alongside UK nationals. It is thought the move will make keeping the UK in the EU a tougher challenge.
Eurosceptic backbencher MP Liam Fox said: “Allowing EU citizens to vote in our referendum would have been an unacceptable dilution of the voice of the British people.”
Scotland’s Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf said he would “make strong representations” to the UK Government urging a reversal of the decision.
“EU citizens are the ones likely to feel the impact of a UK exit from Europe the hardest, so to disenfranchise the vast bulk of them is wrong,” he said
“To exclude EU citizens from voting, many whom have been in the UK for years, who contribute to our economy through their taxes, and whose children are being brought up here is thoroughly undemocratic.”
SNP MSP Christian Allard, a French national, will not be entitled to vote. He said almost 90,000 EU citizens who were eligible to vote in last year’s independence referendum should have their franchise extended.
Meanwhile, both the SNP and Labour have said 16 and 17-year-olds should be allowed to vote in the upcoming referendum following their engagement in last year’s vote.
The Prime Minister intends to hold the EU in/out referendum in 2017, according to reports, which was a manifesto pledge.
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The paper sets out the UK Government’s proposals for a post-Brexit relationship with the EU, but the Scottish Government suggested it offered “little reassurance”