Political

Confirmed: EU citizens will be able to vote in the May elections

A good question from Lib Dem MP Wendy Chamberlain in Parliament and a very welcome answer from the government, clearing up an issue that had been left hanging:

Q: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, whether EU citizens (a) with pre-settled or settled status and (b) without it will be eligible to (i) stand as candidates in and (ii) vote in local government elections in England and Wales in 2020, including the London Assembly election.

A: The UK Government has been clear that the issue of local voting rights of EU citizens living in the UK needs to be considered alongside the rights and interests of British expats living abroad.

The rights of EU citizens to vote and stand in local elections will not immediately change on exit from the EU. We are seeking reciprocal bilateral agreements to maintain this right. The Government has already signed reciprocal bilateral agreements with Spain, Portugal and Luxembourg to guarantee local voting and candidacy rights for UK nationals in those states. Together these three voting rights treaties protect the rights of a third of UK nationals living in EU Member States.

In that context the Government can confirm that resident EU citizens will be able to vote and stand in the May 2020 local elections in England (including London Assembly elections) and the May 2020 Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales. Those elected to office will be able to serve their full term and this will also apply to those elected before 2020.

The National Assembly for Wales is responsible for the franchise in local elections in Wales and elections to the Nationals Assembly for Wales. The UK Government is responsible for the franchise in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England and Wales.

Hat-tip: Rob Blackie.

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