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25 April 2019, 12:19
One MP says she is deeply concerned that the government is "frustrating the ability" for local councils to register EU nationals for upcoming EU elections.
Labour MP Catherine West raised an urgent question in Parliament on "unnecessary extra paperwork" which she thinks could prevent EU nationals from voting in the 2019 European Elections.
The Hornsey and Wood Green MP said EU citizens living in the UK have to undergo a "two-stage process" to vote in the European elections, and need to complete additional forms or return to vote in their "home countries".
She said: "Even if they are already registered to vote in local elections next Thursday the second of May, they are separately required to complete an additional form to vote in the elections three weeks later, unlike other UK nationals."
At the 2014 European Elections, EU nationals were required to go through a two-stage process to register to vote, a system which critics say may have prevented many from voting. UK nationals have a much simpler registration procedure.
Responding for the Government to the urgent question, Brandon Lewis MP said: "To vote in the UK, citizens of other EU member states need to be registered to vote, and to complete the declaration form stating their wish to vote in the UK by Tuesday 7 May 2019."
Mr Lewis said that the form was accessible on the Electoral Commission's and Local Authority websites.
The Minister without Portfolio said that this was to ensure that EU citizens do not vote twice, here and in their member state of origin.