Sturmer says Labor could give EU citizens full voting rights


If Labor wins the next general election, it could give full voting rights to settled EU immigrants, party leader Sir Keir Starmer said.

Sturmer spoke in response to reports. The Sunday Telegraphsaid opposition leaders were prepared to allow permanent immigrants and 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in general elections.

The Labor leader told LBC Radio on Monday that it “feels wrong” that people who have contributed to the UK economy and raised their children in the UK are not allowed to vote.

“If you’ve been here 10, 20, 30 years and you’ve contributed to this economy and been part of our community, you should be able to vote.

“Sometimes when I go to my house during a general election, I meet people who say, ‘Look, I’m an EU citizen, I’ve lived here for 30 years, I’m married to an Englishman, and I raised my own children. There’s a thing.’ They grew up here and now work in England. But you can’t vote. ”

“I think it’s wrong and I think something should be done.”

He added that the fact that settled immigrants do not have full voting rights “really just fails the common sense test for me.”

Allowing teenagers over the age of 16 to vote is also “not such a crazy idea,” Sturmer added.

He pointed to Wales under a Labor government where the voting age for Senedo and municipal elections was lowered to 16.

But Sturmer added that the proposal is still under consideration.

“These are some of the ideas we are considering, but they are not policies. We are just discussing them,” he said.

Conservative objection

This is not the first time Mr Sturmer has suggested extending voting rights to EU citizens.

Giving “EU citizens full voting rights” was one of them. oath He spoke out during the Labor leadership campaign in 2020, but has not made any policy announcements since.

Polling expert Sir John Curtis said EU citizens and young people were more likely to vote for Labor.

“There is an assumption, rightly or wrongly, that they are likely to oppose Brexit and therefore unlikely to vote for the Conservatives,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. Told the Telegraph.

Conservative Chairman Greg Hands has lashed out at Labor, accusing it of “laying the groundwork to lure the UK back into the EU with stealth”.

He added, “Lord Kier spent years trying to block Brexit and overturn the largest democratic vote in the history of the country. This is an attempt to manipulate voters into re-joining the EU.

“The right to vote in parliamentary elections and to choose the next UK government is, of course, restricted to British citizens and those with whom our country has the closest historical ties.

“Other EU countries do not allow non-EU citizens to vote in parliamentary elections.”

‘Not the final plan’

In response to the accusations, Labor front-runner Jonathan Reynolds said his party was only trying to strengthen democracy.

The shadow corporate secretary told Times Radio on Sunday: I hope more people will participate. We would like to say frankly to those who serve this country that they should be recognized and participate in the deliberations in some way.

“But considering some of the changes to the UK constitution is by no means partisan.”

Mr Reynolds said a proposal to expand voting rights “will be considered”, but stressed that such a move “is not the final plan of the Labor manifesto”.

PA Media contributed to this report.