In a move that would demolish a foundation of the British democratic system, Labour is set to back giving foreign nationals the right to vote in General Elections.
Currently, EU citizens and other foreigners living legally in the United Kingdom can vote in local and European Parliament elections, while only Britons, Irish citizens, and those from the Commonwealth can vote in national General Elections.
According to the Independent, the Labour Party will commit to backing extending the voting franchise to all those foreign citizens with residency rights, which the progressive-liberal news website says “could have a seismic impact on a future Brexit referendum”.
In the 2016 referendum, only those who could vote in national elections could vote on the UK’s membership of the EU. However, if the country’s voting franchise is extended and there is a General Election before Brexit is delivered, the some three-million EU citizens living in Britain could swing an election victory for Labour. If a Labour government then holds a second referendum on EU membership, those European citizens would hold power over Britons on the future of their country’s place in the world by forcing a vote to Remain.
Organised by the Labour Campaign for Free Movement, the motion to “extend equal rights to vote to all UK residents” is set to be voted on during Labour Party conference in Brighton on Monday, and if backed by members would become party policy.
Workers are stronger united in struggle than divided by nationality.
Our class has no borders.
— Labour for Free Mvmt (@labfreemvmt) September 22, 2019
It would also be put in place if Labour comes to power after Brexit, with the party set to abolish any laws that restricted immigration based on skills and the country’s need, the closure of all immigration detention centres for illegals and foreign criminals set for deportation, and “scrap all Hostile Environment measures”.
Labour Campaign for Free Movement said in a statement that it is “fundamentally wrong” that non-citizens cannot vote in national elections, saying the party “must be the champion of migrants’ rights in British politics”.
“We must not allow working class people to be divided on the basis of where they are from,” they added, continuing: “So at this Labour Party conference and beyond, we will support moves to extend equal rights to vote to all UK residents. And we will support moves to put this extension of the franchise into Labour’s next general election manifesto.”
According to the group, the plans are backed by the far-left Labour grassroots Momentum.
American Kate Andrews, associate director of the Institute of Economic Affairs, called the motion a “terrible idea”, saying: “To get public buy-in for liberal immigration policies, you need to draw a clear line between residency and citizenship, and protect the distinct rights of the latter (voting being at the top of the list).”
While UKIP member of the Welsh Assemble Neil Hamilton said: “This is utter lunacy! Only British citizens should be allowed to vote in elections.
“Labour have cemented themselves as the anti-Britain party.”
Labour abandons Miliband-era pose of pretending "we got it wrong" on immigration under Blair and Brown, and announces it will open the floodgates: https://t.co/qzkww940T5
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) February 21, 2018