The Brexit saga continues in the same undemocratic circumstances in which it started.


First published in November 2019.


Most of us EU citizens living in the UK (except those of us from Malta, Cyprus and Ireland) will be the spectators at another national vote which will decide our future, yet without a say in the outcome of these elections, but you can make a difference this time.

The franchise used for the General Election excludes us, regardless of whether we have lived and paid taxes for years or decades. It is a heartfelt topic for many of us, as our Commonwealth friends are invited to take part even though they might only have been in the UK for a couple of months. To make matters worse, Commonwealth citizens are often pitted against us by unscrupulous politicians to get their vote, creating more division in the current fractious context of Brexit.

The solution to this issue is quite simple, actually: to extend the franchise to all UK residents in General Elections, regardless of where they were born, in a similar way the Scottish Parliament or the Welsh Assembly are elected.

Dimitri Scarlato is conducting a fantastic campaign for the3million, so do get in touch if you want to help by replying to this piece.

I know quite a few EU citizens who have become British since the referendum so they could vote. Still, it always saddens me to find out they mostly did it for practical reasons, such as securing the future of their families, not because they thought of themselves as British. We all came to Britain because we loved the UK and embraced its values. Not anymore in Brexit-divided Britain.

Access to citizenship is a significant issue in the UK, with insurmountable barriers for most due to its expensive fees, the unnecessary red tape and the irrelevance of the Life in the UK test. The think-tank British Future is carrying out an enquiry on the subject, and we look forward to reading its findings at the beginning of next year.

However, citizenship is not the solution for all, as some EU countries do not allow dual nationality, so extending the franchise to all UK residents is the only viable option concerning voting rights.

Regarding the General Elections, there are critical differences between the parties on EU citizens, especially on Freedom of Movement, but all parties can easily commit to protecting our rights for the rest of our lives regardless of their position on Brexit by agreeing to:

Automatically grant Settled Status to all EU citizens in the UK in a law voted by Parliament;

Issue physical documents to Settled Status holders;

Protect voting rights in local elections and extend the franchise to all UK residents.

Pledge campaign

We are launching a grassroots campaign this week so you can get involved. The campaign is called Automatic Guarantee, in reference to the promises made by Boris Johnson on 1 June 2016.

We are asking you to contact the candidates in your constituency and seek their pledge to the automatic guarantee of our rights.

More information at: https://www.the3million.org.uk/pledge

Proxy vote scheme from British in Europe and the3million

The #DeniedMyVote scandal is still fresh in our memory. Not only were tens of thousands of EU citizens turned away at polling stations, but thousands of British citizens living in Europe were also denied a vote because of problems with postal votes.

For the Brits in Europe, the only way of avoiding postal vote misery is to arrange a proxy vote.

We have created a scheme to match you (if you are eligible to vote in the UK) with one of our British in Europe friends who wants to find a proxy voter.

If you want to volunteer to be a proxy voter in the UK, or if you are a Brit in Europe looking for a proxy voter, please fill in this form.

The deadline is this Friday, at which point we will email you to tell you if we found any matches for your constituency.🔷


 

Did you know the3million is the leading non-profit organisation of EU citizens in the UK? If you can help their campaign to continue, you can:


 



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[This piece was originally published on the3million newsletter and re-published in PMP Magazine on 15 November 2019, with the author’s consent. | The author writes in a personal capacity.]

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(Cover: Facebook / the3million. / Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.)



     

THE AUTHOR

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the3million is the largest group of EU citizens in the UK, with a team of 50-ish active volunteers working on advocacy, policy, legal, media, social media, grassroots and events.