A FRENCH-BORN politician elected to represent a region of Scotland has said it is a democratic disgrace that he will not be allowed to vote in the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.
Christian Allard, SNP MSP for North East Scotland, will be disqualified under Prime Minister David Cameron’s plan to use the general election franchise for voters who will be eligible in the referendum.
It is only right that everyone has a fair say on our futureChristian Allard
The decision would ban 1.5 million EU nationals resident in the UK, including almost 90,000 EU citizens who were eligible to vote in last year’s Scottish independence referendum, from having a say.
Mr Allard added: “EU nationals across Scotland make incredible contributions to their communities and to our national life, pay taxes and contribute to the economy - and for their voices to be silenced on this crucial issue by an out-of-touch Tory government pandering to its own right wing and to Ukip would be nothing less than a democratic disgrace.
“Just last year, almost 90,000 EU nationals registered to vote in Scotland’s referendum and played a key role in the vibrant, democratic debate that the whole country took part in.
“For the Tories to now try to exclude thousands of people in Scotland, and well over a million across the UK, based simply on their nationality is completely indefensible.
“It is only right that everyone has a fair say on our future - and EU nationals in Scotland and right across the UK can rest assured that the SNP will fight David Cameron’s unfair, undemocratic plans every step of the way.”
SNP MSP and Minister for Europe and International Development Humza Yousaf said: “Proposals to exclude most EU citizens living in the UK from voting in the European referendum are utterly perverse, especially as citizens from a whole range of countries outside Europe will be eligible to vote.
“EU citizens are the ones likely to feel the impact of a UK exit from Europe the hardest, so to disenfranchise the vast bulk of them is wrong. To exclude EU citizens from voting, many whom have been in the UK for years, who contribute to our economy through their taxes, and whose children are being brought up here is thoroughly undemocratic.
“The citizens of Commonwealth countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand will have a vote, as indeed will the citizens of three other EU states - Ireland, Malta and Cyprus - so there is no justifiable case for excluding the citizens of the 24 other EU countries who have chosen to make the UK their home and who are resident here.
“In Scotland EU citizens can vote in Scottish Parliament elections and also most recently had a vote in the independence referendum. That same right should be extended to all elections and referenda if we are to be a truly inclusive nation, starting with the proposed in-out EU referendum.
“I will be raising this issue with the UK Government in the strongest possible manner, urging them to reverse this illogical and discriminatory policy.”