Political

Gambian nationals removed from UK electoral register, Maldivians to follow

Commonwealth citizens have rights to join the electoral register in the UK, which makes in part the electorate dependent on international diplomacy. The oddest quirk of that probably comes from when Mozambique – despite never having been part of the British Empire – was allowed to join the Commonwealth for reasons of international diplomacy. As a result its citizens in the UK gained the right to vote.

Likewise, when countries leave the Commonwealth their citizens living here lose the right to vote here. Or, more precisely, when the relevant piece of legislation (Schedule 3 of the British Nationality Act 1981) is updated.

Hence Gambian nationals are now being removed from the electoral register following their country’s decision to leave the Commonwealth in 2013 (!). That came after widespread criticism, including from the UK, over human rights abuses in The Gambia.

Although The Maldives has also left the Commonwealth, the relevant law has not yet been changed for it. Hence its residents in the UK remain able to vote for the time being.

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