A new report is pushing for over 1.5m commonwealth and Irish citizens to be barred from voting in the In/Out referendum on the United Kingdom's membership of the European Union, according to a new report.
MigrationWatch UK chairman Lord Green of Deddington said in his report that the UK is the only country in the EU which affords foreign nationals the opportunity to vote in referenda.
The report said there are about three million Commonwealth citizens of voting age in the UK, but only 1.8m have become British citizens. The "other 1.2m are still foreign nationals who, added to 340,000 Irish citizens, make up about 1.6m foreign citizens who, under the present Bill, will be allowed to vote in the forthcoming referendum".
Polls have been narrowing in recent weeks, and the prospects of a tight finish, whereby 1.6m votes could have a large influence on the outcome, prompted Lord Green to say "it is essential that the outcome should be beyond reproach, especially if the vote is close".
The issue is not the precise numbers involved, nor how they might vote. The real issue is surely one of principle.
The aim, in a nutshell, is to ensure that the future of Britain is decided only by those who are British citizens.
Lord Green will table the amendment in the House of Lords today, in an attempt to exclude foreign nationals from the vote.
No other EU state allows foreign citizens to vote in referenda, the report concluded. And apart from New Zealand, only a tiny number of Commonwealth states - mainly islands in the Caribbean - allow British citizens to vote in their general elections.