MPs call for Electoral Commission inquiry into vote denied scandal in UK


Catherine West MP, speaking out about #DeniedMyVote in the House of Commons
Catherine West MP, speaking out about #DeniedMyVote in the House of Commons

A cross-party group of 84 MPs has called on the UK Electoral Commission to conduct an inquiry into the scale of the vote denied scandal in the UK.

In a letter to Sir John Holmes,  Chair of the Electoral Commission, the lead signatory, Catherine West MP said:

“We are deeply concerned about the number of electors who could not vote in the European elections of 2014, firstly due to the UK Government’s requirement that EU citizens complete an additional form (UC1 form) to vote in the UK and secondly in light of  the difficulties UK citizens living abroad experienced due to the late sending of ballot papers.”

The initiative comes after the campaign group New Europeans sent MPs copies of the evidence it had submitted to the Brexit Steering, Constitutional Affairs and Civil Liberties Committees of the European Parliament.

According to Roger Casale, the founder and Sec. General of New Europeans the dossier showed that there had been: “a systematic failure by the Government to prepare in a timely and adequate way for the elections as required by EU law”.

Last week, Claude Moraes MEP, Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee, and Molly Scott Cato MEP called on the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe to examine the vote denied scandal in the UK.

Danuta Hübner, Chair of the Constitutional Affairs Committee in the European parliament has described the registration requirements as “cumbersome” .

Meanwhile, the European Justice Commissioner, Věra Jourová has written to the UK government to demand an explanation for why reforms to registration procedures for EU citizens in the UK that were promised in 2014 were not carried through.

Speaking about the latest developments in Brussels and Westminster, Roger Casale said:

“These initiatives by MPs and MEPs are very welcome and show that there is real political momentum behind our call for a public inquiry based on the evidence.

The action of the UK government is symptomatic of an underlying disrespect for basic democratic norms as well as being a further manifestation of the hostile environment."

New Europeans’ call for a public inquiry has taken on greater significance in the light of the challenges faced by a number of citizen interest groups in bringing individual cases to court.

A petition calling for a public  inquiry into vote denied has reached over 141k signatures.

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