Tag Archives: Brexit

UK Local Elections 2016

On 5 May 2016 EU citizens living in the UK are entitled to vote in local elections for the following bodies

Last day to register to vote: 18 April 2016

As always, our recommendation is to register directly with your local council/authority. Some of you who are registered to vote will already have received a polling card or postal vote. If you think you are registered, check with the Council that you are indeed on the voting register, it is best to make sure before each election, as election registers need to be updated regularly and the system has changed in the last couple of years. Find the contact details for your local election authority here: http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/

EU citizens living and working in the UK unfortunately do not have a vote in the 23 June 2016 Leave/Remain EU Referendum, but they do have the democratic right to vote in local elections where they live. As active and involved members of their local communities we hope as many people as possible make sure they are on the electorial register.

Find out what the position of local candidates is on Brexit and set a sign through your vote in your local election on 5 May 2016!

 

Mayoral Elections outside London

In 2012 three UK cities elected a directly elected Mayor for the first time. These roles are up for election again in 2016.

NOTE: in all three cities local councils will also be elected on 5 May 2016, EU citizens can vote in these elections.

Local Elections 2015

On 5 May 2015 over 100 local authorities and councils are also elected.

Technically, these are called Metropolitan Boroughs, District Councils and Unitary Authorities – the important thing is they are your local authorities and EU citizens who are permanent residents and on the electoral register have the right to vote in these elections to shape their communities.

Elections in 2016 are being held for the following local authorities

Metropolitan Boroughs
A third of council seats are up for election in 32 of 36 Metropolitan boroughs including Barnsley, Birmingham, Bolton, Bradford, Bury, Calderdale, Coventry, Dudley, Gateshead, Kirklees,  Knowsley, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside, Oldham, Rochdale, Rotherham, St Helens, Salford, Sandwell, Sefton, Sheffield, Solihull, South Tyneside, Stockport, Sunderland, Tameside, Trafford, Wakefield, Walsall, Wigan, Wirral, Wolverhampton.

Unitary authorities
In three councils – Bristol, Peterborough, Warrington – all seats are up for election while 16 others have a third of seats up for election. You can vote in Blackburn with Darwen, Bristol, Derby, Halton, Hartlepool, Kingston-upon-Hull, Milton Keynes, North East Lincolnshire, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Reading, Slough, Southampton, Southend-on-Sea, Swindon, Thurrock, Warrington, Wokingham.

District Councils
12 district councils have all their seats up for election.
Seven have half of their seats up for grabs.
In a further 52 councils a third of seats are being elected.
District Council Elections are held in Adur, Amber Valley, Basildon, Basingstoke & Deane, Brentwood, Broxbourne, Burnley, Cambridge, Cannock Chase, Carlisle, Castle Point, Cheltenham, Cherwell, Chorley, Colchester, Craven, Crawley, Daventry, Eastleigh, Elmbridge, Epping Forest, Exeter, Fareham, Gloucester, Gosport, Great Yarmouth, Harlow, Harrogate, Hart, Hastings, Havant, Huntingdonshire, Hyndburn, Ipswich, Lincoln, Maidstone, Mole Valley, Newcastle-under-Lyme, North Hertfordshire, Norwich, Nuneaton & Bedworth, Oxford, Pendle, Preston, Redditch, Reigate & Banstead, Rochford, Rossendale, Rugby, Runnymede, Rushmoor, St Albans, South Cambridgeshire, South Lakeland, Stevenage, Stroud, Tamworth, Tandridge, Three Rivers, Tunbridge Wells, Watford,
Welwyn Hatfield, West Lancashire, West Oxfordshire, Weymouth & Portland, Winchester, Woking, Worcester, Worthing, Wyre Forest.

Check your local newspapers, radio and TV to check if you can participate in local elections in May 2016. To start with, Wikipedia also has a reasonably good list of all elections taking place locally in 2016.

 

Electing the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly

EU citizens living in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland can vote in the elections for the Scottish Parliament. Register by contacting the Electoral Registration Officer for your local area, you can find their contact details by using the postcode search on the About my vote website.

Here are direct links to find the direct information about these elections:

 

London Assembly

The Assembly holds the Mayor and Mayoral advisers to account by publicly examining policies and programmes through committee meetings, plenary sessions, site visits and investigations. It consists of 25 members, of which 14 are elected by constituencies, the other 11 represent London overall. There’s a nice little video explaining what the London Assembly is, you can find out more about it and stay on top of ongoing work by checking out the London Assembly website. Again, a good list of 2016 candidates is on Wikipedia.

London Mayor

Since a significant percentage of Londoners are non-British EU citizens living and working in the capital, contributing significantly to the city’s international flair and success, we specifically urge European Londoners to participate in the election for the next London Mayor. You can check out our special resource collection for the election here, and find out more on the official page London Elects.

Last day to register to vote: 18 April 2016

Don’t forget: EU citizens have the right to vote in all elections which are categorized as  local, so all the above listed elections are open for EU citizens to vote in. Make sure you are registed to vote! 

 

 

The UK EU Referendum – 23 June 2016

Remain or LeaveOn 23 June 2016 the United Kingdom will hold a referendum about whether it should remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union. A potential ‘Brexit’ has been discussed for the last couple of years and Eurosceptics have campaigned more and more aggressively against EU citizens living and working in the UK and made them one of the main reasons why the UK should end its membership of the European Union.

Some basics on the EU referendum have been assembled by the BBC, although many media outlets so far have not adequately helped to raise the quality of the debate about this important issue.

Letmevote as a grassroots initiative has argued for years that in our opinion people should have the right to vote in the communities they live in. Especially EU citizens, who should be equal to each other across the EU, should have democratic voting rights wherever they live in the EU, whether in their home nation or another EU country.

Despite 2+m EU citizens living in the UK and 1.5 British EU citizens living elsewhere in the EU, the UK government has failed to show a democratically forward-looking attitude on this. On 23 June non-British EU citizens living and working in the UK will not have the right to vote and participate in the UK EU Referendum. This is especially frustrating since EU citizens in Scotland did have voting rights in the Scottish Independence Referendum 2014 – unfortunately the UK government did not show a similar enlightened attitude as the Scottish government as to the rights of their residents to determine their own fate.

Another democratically frustrating fact is that UK citizens who live abroad for more than 15 years lose their right to vote in any UK elections, leaving many democratically disenfranchised. In another frustrating move, and despite an earlier promise to the contrary from key actors, the UK government has also decided not give these British citizens a vote in the EU referendum – many of which are directly affected by the outcome as they live on the European continent.

Some EU citizen groups have campaigned against the disenfranchisement of EU citizens living in the UK, focusing on two petitions. The ‘Give EU citizens living & working in the UK the right to vote in EU Referendum‘ Petition got just under 40,000 signatures when it closed on 25 March 2016. A 38 degrees petition on the subject has under 4000 signatures as of March 2016.

Letmevote has not actively campaigned for these petitions because it has been clear since 2015 that the UK government held a firm opinion against EU citizens’ participation in any referendum, and would not be swayed. However, we strongly believe that just because EU citizens have no vote in the EU referendum, it does not mean they have no voice.

We strongly encourage EU citizens living in the UK to campaign for the EU referendum in their local communities, schools, workplaces and online. EU citizens have stories to tell, we play an important part in helping other local people, British citizens and other with voting rights (such as Irish and Commonwealth citizens living in the UK) a good understanding what the EU means, how it cooperates and why EU membership adds to the quality of life in the UK.

Some organisations who campaign on the EU referendum, especially if spending campaign capital on their work, may need to register with the Electoral Commission as campaigners. However, nothing keeps individual EU citizens and activists from playing an active role in their community or from supporting pro-EU campaigns who work for a ‘REMAIN’ decision.

Letmevote will continue to share relevant information on twitter (you don’t need to be a twitter user to see our updates here!), and also work with another organisation to highlight campaign materials and information you may find useful if you want to campaign for the UK’s continued membership in the European Union.