- Coalition of campaigns and groups representing Brits abroad and migrants in the UK join forces to demand extension to franchise
- Candidates asked to sign pledge to “support the right of all UK residents, and of UK citizens living abroad to vote in general elections and referendums.”
- Unprecedented already committed to major extension to franchise
A coalition of campaigns and groups representing migrants and Brits abroad has come together to demand a major extension to the franchise.
Let Us Vote, a joint initiative of the3million, the British in Europe and Another Europe is Possible, is asking parties and candidates to commit to ‘support the right of all UK residents, and of UK citizens living abroad, to vote in general elections and referendums’. Voters are generating emails to candidates in their constituency using its website.
At present, only Commonwealth and Irish citizens can vote in UK general elections and referendums, while European citizens can vote in local and European elections. UK citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years are also barred from voting. All together, around ten million people are denied the right to vote in general elections and UK-wide referendums.
The campaign, which is expressly neutral on Brexit and on party politics, was initially launched in May. It has cross party support from Lloyd Russell Moyle and Clive Lewis from Labour, Layla Moran from the Lib Dems, and Alberto Costa the Conservative.
So far in this election, Labour has agreed to allow all UK residents over the age of 16 to vote, and the Liberal Democrats have agreed to extend the vote to all UK citizens abroad and to some migrants.
Dimitri Scarlato, from the3million, said:
“There are 3.6 million UK residents from the EU. We are constantly used for political reasons as bargaining chips and political footballs but we don’t get a vote. This has to change. We fully contribute as part of British society and we are proud of it. It is time that we are acknowledged and given a say on matters deeply affecting our future.”
Jane Golding, from the British in Europe campaign, said:
“In our global, interconnected world, what happens in one country has direct repercussions on its citizens who live elsewhere in the world. The last three UK votes have shown this unequivocally. The UK’s approach on citizenship and the franchise is outdated and needs to change: otherwise vast numbers of mobile British citizens, many of whom simply moved to look for work or to study, will have no voice in any national elections anywhere and will be shut out of the democratic process.”
Alena Ivanova, from Another Europe is Possible, said:
“Migrants are a punching bag for politicians. Our rights are being undermined and the lives we have built in this country made unstable. The abolition of free movement would be the biggest weakening of migrants’ rights in decades, but at this election the vast majority of us have no vote. In a world of climate crisis and democratic turmoil, we need to give everyone who has a stake in society a say in how it is run.”