The UK Government is proposing changes to the rights of EU citizens to vote and stand in elections in England and Northern Ireland.
The changes apply to:
local elections in England and Northern Ireland
elections to the Northern Ireland Assembly
elections for Police and Crime Commissioner in England and Wales
Under the proposed changes, EU citizens who were living in the UK before the end of the EU Withdrawal Agreement Implementation Period (up until 1 January 2021) would keep their right to vote and stand in elections.
EU citizens who have arrived in the UK since 1 January 2021 would have these rights, where the UK Government has negotiated agreements with EU Members States to allow its citizens living in the UK to vote, in return for the same right for UK citizens living in that country.
So far these agreements have been made with:
The changes will not affect citizens of the Republic of Ireland or citizens of Commonwealth nations.
We consider the matters of:
which groups of people have a right to vote in a UK election
which groups of people have a right to stand in a UK election
to be important constitutional decisions for the UK Parliament to consider and decide. Therefore we do not take a view.
The government will need to ensure these changes are introduced with enough time, and with adequate funding, for local councils to prepare.
Electoral services teams in local councils manage the electoral registers, and will need to update them in response to this change.