Voting Rights: EU Nationals

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 11th January 2019.

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Photo of Neil Coyle Neil Coyle Labour, Bermondsey and Old Southwark

To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, if the Government will take steps to ensure the voting rights of citizens of other EU member states in local elections under all possible scenarios after March 2019.

Photo of Chloe Smith Chloe Smith The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, Assistant Whip

The issue of electoral voting rights is part of the wider issue of the rights of EU citizens and UK expats that need to be considered during the Brexit preparations. The rights of both sides should be taken together. The UK pushed hard in negotiations for reciprocal voting rights for EU citizens in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU, but they will not form part of the Withdrawal Agreement. The Government has made clear that we will seek to discuss this issue bilaterally with individual Member States with a view to protecting the rights of UK nationals resident in those Member States, where they will not otherwise continue.

We do not anticipate any changes to the current UK primary legislative framework for candidacy and voting rights being made before the May 2019 English and Northern Ireland local elections. The Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly are responsible for their own franchises.

To provide certainty to prospective candidates, it will be the policy intent of the UK Government that candidates who are validly nominated and elected at or before the May 2019 local elections in England and Northern Ireland should be able to serve that term of office in full, notwithstanding any wider changes to voting and candidacy rights in the future.

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