House of Lords written question – answered on 7th March 2012.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to allowing all United Kingdom citizens to vote in United Kingdom elections.

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 and Irish citizens are entitled to register to vote in UK parliamentary elections, local elections, European parliamentary elections and, where relevant, elections to the devolved Assemblies, provided that 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 next electoral register andnot be subject to any legal incapacity to vote.

The Representation of the People Act 1985 provides for British citizens resident overseas to be able to register to vote in UK parliamentary and European parliamentary (but not local) elections in the UK, provided that they have been registered in the past 15 years on the basis of residence in the UK (or were resident in the UK in the past 15 years and were too young to register at the time).

The Government are considering whether the 15-year time limit on voting rights for British citizens overseas remains appropriate.

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