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Voting Rights: EU Nationals

Department for Exiting the European Union written question – answered on 22nd February 2019.

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Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (International Trade), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Exiting the European Union)

To ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, whether voting rights for EU citizens residing in the UK will be maintained under the current terms in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

The UK pushed hard in negotiations to include the right to stand and vote in local elections for UK nationals living in the EU, and EU citizens in the UK, but they will not be included in the Withdrawal Agreement as the Commission said it was out of scope.

The Government has made clear that we will pursue bilateral arrangements with individual Member States. Ministers have written to all member states to offer bilateral agreements on local voting rights.

We have now reached an agreement with Spain that will secure the rights of UK nationals living in Spain, and Spanish citizens living in the UK, to stand and vote in local elections. This is a positive step forward in our future relationship with Spain and we hope this will be the first of many similar bilateral agreements with other Member States.

As we continue to pursue these bilateral agreements, we can confirm that EU citizens in the UK will continue to be able to vote and stand in England and Northern Ireland’s May 2019 local elections.

The Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly are responsible for their own franchises.

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