The UK’s Labour Party is considering extending voting rights to all foreign citizens with residency rights in the country, a move guaranteed to upset the balance of power – especially in the case of a future Brexit referendum.
Labour will “extend equal rights to vote to all UK residents” if it wins the next general election, according to a motion set to be voted on during the party’s annual conference in Brighton on Tuesday. It is “fundamentally wrong” that millions of UK residents cannot vote in general elections, the motion states. It is very likely to pass, according to the Independent newspaper.
The measure was inserted by Labour for Free Movement, a coalition of party members working to extend citizens’ rights to migrants. It also seeks to “close all detention centres” and “scrap all Hostile Environment measures,” referring to laws designed to make life as difficult as possible for people who are in the UK illegally, hoping to convince them to leave the country.
Expanding the general election franchise, which is currently open only to Brits, citizens of the Commonwealth, and Irish citizens (though Europeans and other foreigners can vote in local and European elections), could allow the three million Europeans living in the UK to torpedo Brexit once and for all if a general election is called before the UK leaves the EU. Should Labour hold a second referendum, as party leader Jeremy Corbyn has promised, the foreign Remain vote would easily tip the scales.
The controversial motion has been met with skepticism at best, as well as outright criticism.
Which, you might say, is not the most politically savvy position.
— Lewis Goodall (@lewis_goodall) September 23, 2019
Many Brits were not pleased to hear of Labour’s plan, with one citizen tweeting: “If Labour get anywhere near power, they will cause chaos on so many fronts – it’s very scary to say the least!”
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