15 October 2013

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will bring forward legislative proposals to enable the right to vote in UK elections to be removed from citizens of specified Commonwealth countries.

Greg Clark (Minister of state for Cities and Constitution): The franchise for UK elections is set out in the Representation of People Act 1983. Under the Act, British, Republic of Ireland and qualifying Commonwealth citizens are entitled to register to vote in UK parliamentary elections, local elections, and European elections assuming that all other registration criteria are also met. For the purposes of registering to vote, a qualifying Commonwealth citizen is an individual who either does not need leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, or who does need such leave and has it.

The right of resident Commonwealth citizens to vote in UK elections reflects our close and valued historical ties with the Commonwealth countries. The Government has no current plans to remove the voting rights of Commonwealth citizens.

Hansard Reference:  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm131015/text/131015w0004.htm#131015w0004.htm_wqn6