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by Liam Kirkaldy
23 May 2018
SNP backs plans to give refugees and people seeking asylum the right to vote

Image credit: PA

SNP backs plans to give refugees and people seeking asylum the right to vote

Refugees and people seeking asylum in Scotland will be given the right to vote, under plans being considered by the SNP.

With the Scottish Green party campaigning on the issue, Minister for Parliamentary Business Joe Fitzpatrick today confirmed to Ross Greer that plans to extend the voting franchise to all EU and non-EU adults who are resident in Scotland would include refugees and those seeking asylum.

Fitzpatrick said: “In my view, that [plans to extend the franchise] should include those who were welcomed here as refugees and people going through the process of seeking asylum. Scotland is a welcoming country and our intention to extend the opportunity to vote to all those legally resident in Scotland, whatever their place of birth, I think should extend to refugees and asylum seekers.”

Ministers last year launched a consultation on electoral reform, with any attempt to extend the franchise requiring a two-thirds super majority in parliament.

Greer said: “Giving refugees and asylum seekers the right to vote will go some way in showing that they are truly welcome and that Scotland is their home. Having made this call at the start of the year, I’m delighted Scottish Ministers agree that it is right that all those living here and affected by decisions made locally or nationally have a say in choosing who makes those decisions.

“Scotland's history of taking in those in need of a safe home is a long one and continues today. I look forward to further details in Parliament on extending the franchise."

The plans would require the backing of either Scottish Labour or the Scottish Conservatives to pass.

A Scottish Conservative spokesperson said: “These are interesting proposals and we look forward to considering them closely.”

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