MPs Call For Inquiry into EU Citizens Denied Their Right to Vote – Update

Heidi recently co- signed a cross party letter, written by Layla Moran MP, calling for an immediate inquiry into EU Citizens denied the right to vote in last month’s European Election. The letter, addressed to the Chair of the Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Secretary, additionally addresses issues faced by UK citizens living abroad. 

The letter outlines major concerns  shared by MPs regarding two issues, “the Government’s requirement that EU Citizens complete additional paperwork to register to vote” and “the issues faced by UK voters living abroad, centred on the late sending of ballot papers.”

Furthermore, the letter goes on to argue that “had the Government confirmed that we would be taking part in these elections sooner, rather than on the same say as the deadline for the return of the UC1 form, we could have largely avoided the situation.” 

Heidi and 68 other MPs who supported the letter call for a comprehensive and immediate inquiry to investigate the following:

  • Why the Government did not act following similar issues in 2014 and recommendations of reform made by the Electoral Commission
  •  The impact of such a decentralised system of voter registration;
  • The impact of the Government’s late confirmation of the European Election.

The government’s late announcement confirming the UK’s participation in the EU elections was arguably central to the problems experienced. At that time, Heidi published an article on her website encouraging EU citizens to ensure they had completed all necessary documentation to ensure their eligibility to vote.  Regrettably, correspondence received from constituents since the Election confirms that the Government’s repeated denial of participation, combined with their lack of preparation, meant that many people were indeed denied their right to vote. 

Commenting Heidi said, “The situation was completely unacceptable. These were incredibly important elections and disenfranchising specific groups of the electorate is not only frustrating for individuals but also undemocratic. I am pleased this letter is supported by MPs from all sides of The House and look forward to an investigation being launched.”

*Update*

On Monday the 17th of June, Layla Moran received a response from both the Cabinet Secretary and the Chair of the Electoral Commission. You can view both responses here and here respectively.