British MPs demand urgent probe into #DeniedMyVote scandal

Written by Martin Banks on 12 June 2019 in News
News

Leading campaign group presses for inquiry into allegations that up to 2 million EU citizens were left unable to vote in the European elections.

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A cross-party group of 68 British MPs has sent a letter to the UK Electoral Commission calling for an inquiry into what has been branded the #DeniedMyVote “scandal.”

The move comes amid mounting concern about the inability of thousands of EU citizens living and working in the UK to vote in the recent European elections due to “irregularities” in the registration process.

In the letter, seen by this website, the MPs write, "Our concerns focus on two issues: the UK government's requirement that EU citizens submit additional paperwork to register to vote in these elections (the UC1 form) and the issues faced by UK voters living abroad, centred on the late sending of ballot papers."


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The MPs' initiative is the latest move in efforts to force a public inquiry into the affair.

A petition has also been launched into the “scandal” in which over a million EU citizens in the UK and Britons abroad were unable to vote in the European elections which took place in the UK on 23 May.

The letter, also sent to the UK Cabinet Secretary, calls for an inquiry which would take a comprehensive look at all the contributory issues including: Why the UK government failed to act on the recommendations for reform of the voter registration system made in 2014, and the impact on voter registration of calling the European elections so late.

Furthermore, it would scrutinise the number of EU citizens in the UK who were denied a vote and the reasons for this as well as the number of UK citizens abroad whose ballot papers did not arrive in time.

“We need an urgent inquiry into why so many EU citizens and overseas voters were disenfranchised last month" Layla Moran MP, Liberal Democrats

Referring to a similar incident when voters were allegedly denied the right to vote in 2014, the cross-party group of MPs wrote: "Given that similar concerns were raised 5 years ago in 2014, we find it deeply concerning that the government appears to have taken no action to stop such serious disenfranchisement from occurring."

One of the MPs to sign the letter is Layla Moran, who told this website, "I am delighted that 68 colleagues from six parties have signed the letter I drafted on #DeniedMyVote.”

“We need an urgent inquiry into why so many EU citizens and overseas voters were disenfranchised last month."

Dr Ruvi Ziegler, chair of the campaign group New Europeans in the UK, also welcomed the initiative.

“Unfortunately, no Conservative MPs have so far signed up to support our call for an inquiry - it's harder for them because it is the actions of the government itself that will need to be scrutinised, but I still hope that some of them will be big enough to do so!" Roger Casale, CEO of New Europeans

He said, “I thank Layla Moran for supporting our call for a public inquiry. More than 130,000 people have now signed the petition so let's make sure people are not ignored.”

New Europeans initially launched a petition calling for a public inquiry into what it calls a “scandal”.

Commenting on the latest developments, Roger Casale, founder and CEO of New Europeans, said, "We asked everyone who has been signing our petition to write to their MPs to ask for their support, so we are absolutely delighted to see such an immediate response in parliament.”

“It's great that the MPs are mobilising on a cross-party basis. The #DeniedMyVote scandal raises profound issues about our democracy and that's why such an approach is needed.”

The former Labour MP said, “Unfortunately, no Conservative MPs have so far signed up to support our call for an inquiry - it's harder for them because it is the actions of the government itself that will need to be scrutinised, but I still hope that some of them will be big enough to do so!"

About the author

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at The Parliament Magazine

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