Scots risk missing potential snap election as electoral roll drops

Thousands of Scots risk not being able to have their say if a snap general election or second Brexit referendum is called this year, official figures reveal.

The number registered to vote north of the Border in a Westminster election was found to have dropped by 24,800 at the end of 2018 compared with the previous year.

And those registered to vote in a Holyrood or local authority election also declined by 15,300 in the same period, a report published today by the National Records of Scotland revealed.

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The drop in those registered to vote comes as speculation mounts on the future of Theresa May’s premiership.

Scots have headed to the polls four times since 2016
Scots have headed to the polls four times since 2016

The prime minister returned from Brussels today to be confronted by reports that most MPs from her own party now want her to quit following another inconclusive week of Brexit talks.

Calls for a second referendum on the UK’s status within the EU are also refusing to die down, with an online petition demanding Brexit is suspended having been signed more than three million times in the past two days.

Registrars noted there has been a slight upturn in the numbers registered to vote since the turn of a the century.

There was a drop in 2015 following the introduction of Individual Electoral Registration (IER), which affected the registration of students.

Prior to the introduction of IER, block registration was permitted, particularly for students in halls of residence, but this practice has now been discontinued.

Since the drop in 2015, electorates in Scotland have generally increased, which registrars attribute to the heightened period of electoral activity seen over the last few years, with voters going to the polls on four occasions since May 2016.

The report also found that 3.2 per cent of the total Scottish electorate is now made up of EU citizens from outwith the UK.

The total number of UK Parliamentary electors in Scotland is now 3,925,800, with 4,105,800 registered for Holyrood and local elections.

Those aged 16 and 17 were handed the right to vote in Scottish parliamentary elections in 2016 but the minimum age remains 18 for Westminster votes.