EU referendum: Over one million migrants will be barred from voting

Billy Ehrenberg
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Legislation on the referendum is expected this week (Source: Getty)

Over 1m European migrants living in Britain will not be able to vote in the EU referendum, unless they qualify to vote in General Elections David Cameron has decided.

The prime minister’s move will placate some Eurosceptics on the right of the Conservative party, who were afraid voting restrictions would follow the looser rules of European Parliament elections. Commonwealth citizens - and those from Ireland which left in 1949 - will be able to vote.

Read more: The SNP wants 16 year olds to vote in EU referendum

Legislation for the election will be put forward in the Queen’s speech this week, and will be unopposed by Labour, which yesterday performed a U-turn on the subject.

Some of the changes Cameron is aiming to negotiate before supporting a vote to stay in the EU would be distinctly unappealing to migrant workers – such as the Conservative plan to ban European workers from getting work-related benefits until they have been resident for four years. This is despite research showing that, on average, a migrant worker is less likely to claim benefits than a native Briton.

To drum up support for his reforms, Cameron will visit Poland, the Netherlands and Denmark this week. He is hosting Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission at Chequers today, with the date of the referendum a likely topic of discussion. Juncker is said to be keen for a vote to happen as early as 2016.

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