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European Parliament (Voting System)

Volume 31: debated on Friday 12 November 1982

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department when he anticipates that the European Economic Community Council of Ministers will give effect to the proposals passed by the European Parliament for implementing a common voting system for elections to that body.

The Council of Ministers is still considering the European Parliament's proposals with a view to deciding whether it should recommend them to member States for adoption. It is too early to say when it will reach a decision.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the policy of Her Majesty's Government towards Council of Europe document 4934 on the voting rights for nationals of Council of Europe member States with particular reference to an early extension of the United Kingdom franchise to Britons living abroad.

While the proposals in Document 4934, as subsequently amended and adopted by the Assembly of the Council of Europe, are not primarily directed to the extension of voting rights by Governments of member States to their nationals resident in other member States, the Government are sympathetic to them. We also accept that there is a strong case for giving the vote to British citizens resident abroad. This is a complex issue, and we welcome the decision of the House of Commons Select Committee on Home Affairs to examine it as part of its inquiry this Session into the Representation of the People Acts.