As we predicted, the UK government has decided to remove voting rights in local elections for EU citizens who moved to the UK after the end of the so-called implementation period, i.e. from 1 January this year, following Brexit.
New Europeans UK is therefore calling on the UK government to follow the example of the Scottish and Welsh parliaments, which have chosen to ‘level up’ electoral rights by giving equal voting rights to all migrants in devolved elections.
Instead the House of Commons library last month published a briefing paper summarising the current position. Read the House of Commons paper here
Only EU citizens from Spain, Portugal, Luxembourg and Poland, who entered the UK after the end of the Implementation Period, 31 December 2020, and where bilateral agreements are in place, will be able to stand and vote in local elections in the future.
Dr Ruvi Ziegler, Chair of New Europeans UK, said: “It is regrettable that the UK government is seeking to create a two-tier system of EU citizens: those who will be able to vote and to be elected in local government elections, and those who – despite arriving in this country legally – will be disenfranchised.
“Moreover, when it comes to Westminster elections, the UK continues to disenfranchise even those EU citizens with pre-settled or settled status, excluding them while including citizens of Commonwealth countries and Irish citizens.
“We implore the UK government to follow the good practice of the Scottish and Welsh parliaments, which have both opted for ‘levelling up’ electoral rights, equalising the political status of all migrants in devolved elections to that of British citizens.
However, all EU citizens who were resident before the end of the implementation period will be able to continue to stand and vote.
What has been achieved so far has a lot to do with the outcry and the campaigning which we have done since the #deniedmyvote scandal of May 2019 – over two years ago.
We want to be able to continue to campaign to make sure that all EU citizens and not just some are entitled to vote in local elections (this includes voting for example in regional elections such as for the Greater London Authority).
With your help, we will be able to continue to do so. Please help us reach our new target of £20,000 by renewing your support today using this link.