Perth and North Perthshire MP, Pete Wishart, has spoken out about some EU nationals being denied a vote at the European Parliament election in May 2019 following a reply he has received from the Electoral Commission.
After reports of some EU citizens in Perth and Kinross missing out on the chance to vote on 23rd May, the Perth and North Perthshire MP wrote to the Electoral Commission to raise his concerns. In a response dated 10th of June, Craig Westwood, Director of Communications and Research for the Electoral Commission, points out that the Commission made a number of recommendations to the UK Government following the last EU election, which were not followed up on.
The reply also states:
“It is regrettable that the very short notice from the Government of the UK’s participation in these elections impacted on the time available to raise awareness of the registration process amongst EU citizens, and for citizens to complete the process.”
Speaking today (11th June), Mr Wishart said:
“The finger of blame has been squarely pointed at the UK Government for effectively disenfranchising a number of EU citizens from the vote last month. The response I have had from the Electoral Commission clearly states that they made a number of recommendations after the last EU vote, which the UK Government totally ignored. Between their failure to learn from past elections and the extremely short notice they gave to the Commission and local authorities, they are complicit in preventing people from voting at the polls last month.
“I know that a number of EU nationals are currently seeking advice on whether or not to take legal action against the government and I can see why this would be something they would want to do.
“EU nationals in Perth and North Perthshire are an extremely valuable part of our society and I will continue to do all that I can to stand up for their rights here. The UK Government must learn from this and never disenfranchise voters ever again.”