Almost 1.5 million EU residents living in the UK will not be allowed to vote on whether Britain stays in the EU or not, no matter how long they’ve lived in the country for.
Over the weekend, the UK’s Prime Minister, David Cameron, revealed opening details of the 2017 referendum which will ultimately decide whether Britain should stay as part of the European Union.
It has been announced that when the Referendum Bill is introduced this Thursday, the final vote will be based on conditions used for a general election, not local elections. This means that Irish, Maltese and Cypriot citizens, along with others from Commonwealth countries, living in the UK will get a vote, but non-British citizens hailing from any other EU member state won’t be entitled to have their say, even they’ve spent more time living in the UK than they have their own country.
The PM has also ruled out lowering the voting age from 18 to 16 for the Referendum.
However, British expats who have lived abroad for 15 years or less will be allowed to vote, providing they register to do so ahead of time.
Around 45.3 million people will be eligible to take part in the vote.
Between now and 2017, Cameron is hoping to significantly renegotiate large swathes of the current EU agreement, which he hopes will make Britain’s relationship with the Union ‘fairer’ and more ‘worthwhile’.
The Prime Minister held opening meetings with the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday. A spokesman for the PM said: “The prime minister underlined that the British people are not happy with the status quo and believe that the EU needs to change in order to better address their concerns.
“Mr. Juncker reiterated that he wanted to find a fair deal for the UK and would seek to help. They talked through the issue at some length in the spirit of finding solutions to these problems.”