Elections

House of Lords written question – answered on 19th December 2011.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the countries whose citizens can vote in United Kingdom elections on the basis of their citizenship; and whether those citizens can make donations to United Kingdom political parties.

Photo of Lord McNally Lord McNally Deputy Leader of the House of Lords, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice, Liberal Democrat Leader in the House of Lords

British, Republic of Ireland and qualifying Commonwealth citizens are entitled to register to vote in the UK in parliamentary elections, local elections and European elections assuming that all of the other registration criteria are also met. To be eligible to register a person must:

be resident in the constituency (subject to certain exceptions)be over 18, or become 18 within the lifetime of the electoral registernot be subject to any legal incapacity to vote

For the purposes of registering to vote, a "qualifying Commonwealth citizen" is a Commonwealth citizen who either does not need leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, or who does need such leave and has it. Countries whose citizens are Commonwealth citizens are listed in Schedule 3 to the British Nationality Act 1981 and can be found at the following link:

http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/who_can_register_to_vote.aspx

Resident citizens of other European Union member states are entitled to register to vote at European parliamentary elections and local elections. A list of EU member states can also be found at the above link.

Section 54 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 provides that political parties may only accept donations from permissible donors. Section 54(2)(a) provides that an individual registered in an electoral register is a permissible donor. As such, all those entitled to vote in the UK are also entitled to make donations to UK political parties.

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