Peers argued the case yesterday afternoon in the House of Lords for a proposed amendment to the European Referendum Bill seeking to give the right to vote in the referendum to all UK citizens living in other EU member states.
Although the amendment was subsequently withdrawn after debate, it is now likely to be discussed again at the report stage.
The Hansard report below which details the various interventions by Peers, indicates a certain level of cross-party support but a number of opposing views citing specifically:
- The still relatively low voting registration and turnout rates for an estimated + 5 million British expatriates worldwide, including the 1 – 2 million living within other EU member states.
- Inherent difficulties in reaching out to, administering and sorting through this mostly unidentified but potentially significant number of voters in an acceptable manner before the EU referendum can take place, and which could skew the final result.
- The intervention ( 2 Nov 2015 : Column 1420 of Hansard report below ) by Baroness Morgan of Ely (Lab):
“I hate to break the cosy consensus that is obvious here in the Chamber today, but the Labour Party does not believe that the vote should be extended beyond 15 years to people living in the EU.”