Elections: Voters

House of Lords written question – answered on 29 August 2013.

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Photo of Lord Ashcroft Lord Ashcroft Conservative

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any consideration is being given to allowing all British citizens the right to vote in General Elections.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)

British and Irish citizens are entitled to register to vote in UK parliamentary elections, 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, and not 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 elections, provided that they have been registered in the UK in the past 15 years.

The Government is open to discussion about whether the 15-year time limit remains appropriate but is not minded at present to change the law.

It is the Government’s strong view that whether prisoners are entitled to vote is a matter for Parliament.

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