political

Liam Fox wants to kick half a million Indians and Pakistanis off the electoral register

It’s a well-established piece of election law that Irish and Commonwealth citizens who live in the UK can vote in general elections. Despite the minor matters of it being long-standing, a matter of past political discussion, often featuring in briefing information provided to election candidates and something that 1.5 million people get reminded about directly at election time, The Times has rather curiously called it “obscure” [£]. But more importantly also reported what Liam Fox and Conservative colleagues want to do:

Senior Tories called for an emergency change in the law last night as official figures revealed the scale of foreigners who will be free to cast a vote in May.

This could result in them being able to decide the outcome of what is set to be the closest and most unpredictable election result in decades. Under an obscure law that has never been reformed, people from Ireland and the Commonwealth who live in the UK are given voting rights. Irish, Indian and Pakistani citizens top the list of those allowed to cast a vote…

Some Conservatives believe that the number of voters from ethnic minorities included in the list will provide a boost to Labour. The previous election showed that Labour was far more successful in winning the votes of those from ethnic minorities…

Liam Fox, the former defence secretary, said: “It is ridiculous that the government of a country like ours could be decided by those who are not British citizens. It is high time we brought this law up to date.”

Graham Brady, the chairman of the Tory backbench 1922 Committee who has attempted to change the law in the past, said that a legal change was “crucially important”…

“This is a matter of fundamental fairness, but is critically important as we face a general election that threatens to be very close. It would be outrageous if overseas nationals were able to decide the outcome.”

Who would such a change kick off the electoral register?

  • 345,000 Irish
  • 306,000 Indians
  • 180,000 Pakistani
  • 73,000 Australians
  • 52,000 Zimbabweans
  • Other countries in the top ten are Nigeria, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Canada and Bangladesh.

I suspect non-Conservative candidates may be repeatedly reminding their local Commonwealth and Irish voters of the views such Conservatives hold…

 

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81 comments
DeniseLMulligan
DeniseLMulligan

So all the people in Northen Ireland wont be able to vote, it is part of the commonwealth, so is he now saying they are all irish.That wont please a lot of people .  

aspitweets
aspitweets

Plumbing new depths? this is at Marianas Trench levels!

zimbot
zimbot

@ColeshilliAnn so you believe that if you wasn't born in this country you shouldn't be able to vote?

zimbot
zimbot

@ColeshilliAnn but they are citizens. Hence why they are able to vote... They live here!

ColeshilliAnn
ColeshilliAnn

@zimbot Nope. If you can't be bothered to become a citizen, then you should not be able to vote. Residency is not citizenship.

zimbot
zimbot

@ColeshilliAnn but if you live and work in a place you should be able to engage in its democracy.

ColeshilliAnn
ColeshilliAnn

@zimbot Nope. If you can't be bothered to become a citizen, then you should not be able to vote.

zimbot
zimbot

@ColeshilliAnn how about when you 'lived' there did wish to engage in the decision making process?

TristanTriangelJobson
TristanTriangelJobson

@ColeshilliAnn @zimbot It's not a matter of not being bothered, it costs over a grand to become a citizen, hardly pocket change. I know people who've lived and worked here ten years who literally cannot afford to become citizens. They're basically not allowed to vote because they don't have money, which I suppose fits the Tory agenda perfectly.

Philip Thomas 693
Philip Thomas 693

@zimbot @ColeshilliAnn  It is a little more complex than that: being born in the UK only makes you a British Citizen if either 1) You were born before 01.01.1983 or 2) Your parents meet various requirements.

SteveComer
SteveComer

Thanks for clarifying Liz.  I think we should get to a stage where all EU citizens should be able to vote in national as well as local and Euro elections in any member state they reside in.  That will probably take some time, but we could start by expanding the sort of reciprocal arrangement the UK has with Ireland.  Given the number of French people living in England and English people living in France, perhaps we should negotiate that one first?

At present there are some anomalies in the present law, eg. citizens of Malta and Cyprus resident in the UK can vote in national elections here, but UK nationals living in Cyprus and Malta cannot do so in those countries.

Nigel Mee
Nigel Mee

There are 9 million expats around the world who hold a British passport they too can vote and they are not in the UK to suffer the consequences of their actions. Any person legally in the UK should be allowed to vote to do otherwise is to disenfranchise those who have a vested interest in the society they are part of wherever they come from.

Brent T
Brent T

@Nigel Mee

This is true Nigel. 

However, see also the voting laws for other members of the commonwealth and what they allow residents to do.

I'm a British permanent resident of Canada and I am not allowed a say in the country which is my home and taxes me on my earnings. I /can/ vote in UK elections, but for what? Unless they are offering to look into expat pensions, where is my interest?

As far as allowing me a say in my current home country's future, well, I could apply for citizenship and be granted the rights of fellow Canadians. I'm not sure allowing non citizen immigrants a say in the policies of ones country is necessarily the best policy.

Nigel Mee
Nigel Mee

@Brent T @Nigel Mee Thanks for your thoughts Brent  my view remains that  Democracy is to allow representation to those who take part in a society , pay taxes and suffer the consequences of the decisions made by those in power. How a society agrees the requirements of the entitlement to vote is for them but I believe that it is a recipe for disaster when large numbers of any country's population are excluded from the entitlement to representation. If a condition of entitlement is naturalisation then so be it if that is how the majority decide it. How to define citizenship and the balance of rights and responsibilities is another question and a completely different can of worms!   

DrNoNo
DrNoNo

@Nigel Mee Seem to me a vote is more important than just being a worker in some area for a period of time and paying taxes and therefore having a vote. 


Citizenship is more than that. It's about long term decisions affecting the people in that area - if I am not going to be there long term - i.e. a citizen - why should I have a vote. 


I may vote in a way that helps my home community, but disadvantages the host community (for example billions in foreign aid for India's Space programme from UK taxpayers). Certain parties (i.e. Labour) may import millions of workers from these commonwealth countries to shore up their vote. 


The rule is crazy and acts against every citizen of the UK.   

DeniseLMulligan
DeniseLMulligan

@DrNoNo @Nigel Mee I have lived in this country for more than 30 years. I have worked and paid taxes, there for contributing to this country. i have also done voluntary  work within schools in my community and i have never before now been made to feel like and outsider.


I am married to English man who I might add does not hold these views and i have children who are working and paying taxes. I have never voted for outside interest which is a crock of s**t . We get a vote like everyone else and after that we have no say on who gets what in foreign.  


 You also seem to forget that a lot of people come from commen-weath countries [Countries which were taken over and run as British colonies] and were  deemed English citizens, were given British passports and had the right to come and live in the uk.


 George Osbourne wants to take this country back to the 1930s but Liam Fox would take us back to the 1700s .All you have done is anienated me and thousands of others and told me the Tory Party don't want my vote as I am not welcome here

Nigel Mee
Nigel Mee

@DrNoNo @Nigel Mee I think you will find that the "import of millions of workers" has been going on for a long time started by Enoch Powell (a Conservative) to staff the NHS and other industries. Thank goodness for these workers who come and settle here where would the NHS be without them. The decision of a country to rob skilled workers from struggling countries rather than train and pay those who reside in the UK is disgusting and a demonstration of as Ted Heath (a Conservative) said "the unacceptable face of capitalism".

If you are a democrat who believes in democracy you have to franchise those people who live in that democracy to do otherwise is immoral in my view.

DrNoNo
DrNoNo

@Nigel Mee @DrNoNo No you don't 'have to' franchise people who come here on a temporary basis to work for General Elections. Either they are citizens, or not! Their may be a case for local elections, but definitely not for General Elections.

Most people would be AGHAST that commonwealth VISITORS can vote over issues in a General Election that will affect them for decades - from welfare to the NHS, to defense to foreign aid. 

And you are talking nonsense about millions imported since the 60s as the rate of immigration barely exceeded 50,000 on average during the 60s, 70s, even during the 80s. 

The switch to import NHS staff rather than train from our own community occured under Labour in the 90s 00's, and was continued under the Conservatives and LibDems - so much so that 3/4 of Nurses are now recruited from abroad. 

Nigel Mee
Nigel Mee

@DrNoNo @Nigel Mee We seem to be talking at cross purposes I have not suggested that those who are visitors or temporary residents should be voting in elections. All I am saying is that citizens are entitled to a vote wherever they come from. For your information I am a citizen born and bred English from Nottingham who has spent my entire life working and living in the UK except for being an immigrant in Canada, where I was treated as one of their own. I also use my own name in this and other blogs if you think I am talking none sense that is your opinion and you are entitled to it but google Enoch Powell and you will find I am not.

DeniseLMulligan
DeniseLMulligan

@DrNoNo @DeniseLMulligan @Nigel Mee As far as i am concerned I am a citizen. Taking a test and getting a piece of paper may make it official but as i am married to am English man so I am a citizen.

As  I hold a degree in archaeology from UCL and working in commercial archaeology in this country for 12 years plus teaching history to children  I probably know more about this country and its history and heritage than you.I think the answer to your question is to get your self educated and find some humanity in your heart.  

LizNeedham
LizNeedham

I'm Irish. I vote in every election I can. HMRC are happy to take my employees' tax and NI and my corporation tax. I provide work for four people, including me.  No taxation without representation.

PatrickOneill
PatrickOneill

@LizNeedham Im Irish born too but have lived here since the age of 4, my mother is English, this is pretty shocking. Remember the old American saying no taxation without representation

CharlesLoft
CharlesLoft

That's about 1 MILLION plus people ready to STORM Parliament.

DeniseLMulligan
DeniseLMulligan

@CharlesLoft who in there right mind would want 345 thousand + angry Irish men and women knocking on their door; lol 

SteveHarris1
SteveHarris1

Any mention of Tory ex pats, thought not!


JohnMangan
JohnMangan

Here we go. US Republican style gerrymandering and ballot rigging.  In the US it's usually trying to disenfranchise black and latino voters on fictional voter fraud charges (almost all of which have been discredited).  The idea is to remove potential Democrat votes.

Now it's come to the UK like all crackpot right-wing ideas, so that the Tories can remove potential Labour/LibDem/Green voters.

The cynicism is breathtaking but the originality is zero which is par for the Tories so far.

Anonymous of Swindon
Anonymous of Swindon

I have just written to my MP who happens to be a Tory.  He replied almost immediately stating that this is NOT party policy and that it was brought forward as an amendment.  The amendment apparently was defeated, 500 to 25.

Good to know.  


So it's not going to happen.

GuyHodgson
GuyHodgson

Is there enough time for a bill to go through two readings, a committee stage, the house of lords and the royal assent before May?

BarneyTurner
BarneyTurner

@GuyHodgson Considering how fast they got the Data Retention & Internet Provider Act (The "Snooper" Act) through Parliament last year on the back of idiots running off to join ISIS, I`d say yes there is, unfortunately :(

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