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Brexit: Block non-UK citizens from voting in EU referendum, says new report

MigrationWatch UK says 1.6 million non-naturalised Commonwealth citizens living in Britain and Irish nationals should be barred from voting in the poll

A referendum on British membership of the European Union will take place by the end of 2017
A referendum on British membership of the EU will take place by the end of 2017 Photo: Reuters


MigrationWatch UK, which campaigns for tougher border controls, said Britain is the only country in the EU to allow foreign nationals to vote in referenda.

The event of a tight finish in the “Brexit” poll – due to take place by the end of 2017 – there are fears that 1.6 million votes could swing the outcome one way or another.

Lord Green of Deddington, the chairman of MigrationWatch, will table his first ever amendment to legislation in the House of Lords on Thursday since he was ennobled in October 2014 in a bid to have foreign nationals excluded from the vote.

Lord Green, a crossbencher, said: “This referendum will be of huge importance to the future of our country.

“It is essential that the outcome should be beyond reproach, especially if the vote is close.

“The real issue is surely one of principle.

“The aim, in a nutshell, is to ensure that the future of Britain is decided only by those who are British citizens.”

A report published by MigrationWatch today shows there are about three million Commonwealth-born citizens of voting age in Britain, of whom 1.2 million are still foreign nationals having not adopted British citizenship.

A further 340,000 Irish citizens will also be allowed to vote due to historically close Anglo-Irish links.

Sir Andrew GreenLord Green of Deddington  Photo: Rex Features

“There is no period of residence required and, since applications to register can be made at any point in the year, Commonwealth nationals could vote very shortly after arrival,” says the research paper.

“Nor is any documentation required, simply a declaration that the applicant is a Commonwealth or Irish citizen.”

It adds that there is evidence of cross-party backing for such a move after Lord Goldsmith, the former Labour Attorney General, conducted a review in 2008 and concluded: “Ultimately, it is right in principle not to give the right (to vote) to citizens of other countries living in the UK until they become UK citizens.”

His proposals, which related to elections rather than referenda, were never taken forward by the government.

No other EU state allows foreign citizens to vote in referenda, the paper said.

In the Commonwealth only New Zealand and a small number of other smaller states such as Caribbean islands allow British citizens to vote in their general elections, says MigrationWatch, “let alone in a referendum”.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/eureferendum/11945477/Brexit-Block-non-UK-citizens-from-voting-in-EU-referendum-says-new-report.html

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