Friday, June 21, 2013

Qualifications to Vote


 All British citizens, Commonwealth citizens and citizens of the Irish Republic who are resident in the United Kingdom and over the age of eighteen are eligible to vote.   In addition citizens of those countries which are members of the European Union and are over the age of eighteen are eligible to vote in local government elections and elections to the European Parliament.   All voters have to be registered and their name appears on the Register of Electors.
In 1948 Eire declared itself a Republic and left the Commonwealth.   British reaction to the setting up of the Republic and the challenge to British sovereignty in Ulster took the form of a political initiative.   British nationality laws were altered; and although the Republic had left the Commonwealth and her citizens were no longer British, they were not classed as foreigners.   As Herbert Morrison humorously assured Parliament: “Indeed the Republic of Ireland does not want to be in the Commonwealth but it does not want to be foreign.   It is, as far as I know, quite sincere on both points.”
There are over 400,000 citizens of the Republic of Ireland registered in the United Kingdom that have the right to vote in a General Election.    They are not evenly spread over all the constituencies.   There are concentrations of Irish voters in Liverpool, Glasgow and Camden Town in London.   Where there are concentrations they can clearly influence the decision of the electorate.   This cannot be right.

It is one of the extraordinary anomalies of democracy in the United Kingdom that the citizens of a foreign country, that have no allegiance to the United Kingdom are allowed to vote in elections in the United Kingdom and in so doing determine who shall govern the United Kingdom. 

Only United Kingdom citizens should be allowed to vote in United Kingdom Parliamentary elections.    

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