Archive for the ‘Chasing Wrong Target’ Category

British Citizenship and Right to Vote

lundi, septembre 9th, 2013

The lack of a clear connection in law between British citizenship and the right to vote has permitted successive British governments to allow the following injustice.

Fellow but expatriate British citizens are rather arbitrarily in law deprived of their right to vote in UK elections after 15 years abroad but an estimated 1 million non-British citizens from 54 Commonwealth countries currently resident in the UK will be entitled to vote in , and possibly influence, the 2015 general election.

According to the press article referenced below, in 2007 the then Labour government ordered a review of British citizenship laws by Lord Goldsmith QC, the Attorney General, but did not act on his advice that it should make a ?clear connection between citizenship and the right to vote?. MigrationWatch, which campaigns for lower immigration, is also quoted in this article as suggesting that Labour refused to act because voters from black and minority ethnic communities were more likely to vote Labour than Liberal Democrat or Conservative.

Shouldn’t the Conservative party be pressing for a clearer connection in law between British citizenship and the right to vote in UK elections as part of its overall immigration policy?

Reference: Commonwealth citizens ‘should lose the right to vote’, The Times, 28th August, 2013

Chasing the Wrong Target – by Michael Webster

mardi, août 20th, 2013

Considerable efforts have been devoted in recent years to obtain the right to vote for those who have been expatriates for more than 15 years, although most of these may be thought to have lost their links with any constituency back home and the ability to choose between the candidates for election there.

A far more important problem is this. There are estimated to be about 5 – 6 million British citizens living abroad, of whom 1.5 million or 30% are not eligible to vote. Let us suppose that half a million are underage, leaving 1 million deprived by the 15-year-ruling.

According to a recent Parliamentary Commission, of the 3.5 million entitled to vote only 20,000, yes 20,000 , are registered to vote. Surely this is the real problem. How to get those who have already the right to do so to exercise that right rather than seek it for those who have been expatriates for countless years.

Michael Webster