Sir Keir Starmer appeared to ditch his aim to give EU citizens in Britain voting rights- in what could be yet another U-turn for the Labour leader.
Sir Keirs’ desire to hand the vote to the millions of EU citizens who live in Britain will not be in his party’s new manifesto according to a new document, reports the Telegraph.
Yet in his leadership election campaign of 2020 Sir Keir had called for “full voting rights for EU nationals”.
However, in the list of policies drawn up by leading Labour figures and union leaders in the run-up to the party conference, he does commit the party to bringing in votes for 16- and 17-year-olds, which would add another 1.4 million voters.
The National Policy Forum document that was published on Thursday says: “Labour will introduce votes for 16 and 17-year-olds, in line with Scotland and Wales, so that young people feel empowered and can fully engage in our democratic processes.
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“Those who contribute to our society should also have a say in how it’s governed.”
When the plan to given EU citizens living in the UK a vote was initially announced it prompted accusations that the Labour leader was trying to “rig the outcome” of future elections and “lay the groundwork for a referendum to rejoin the EU”.
It would have affected around 3.4 million EU nationals in Britain who have already fulfilled the requirements to achieve settled status – and another 2.6 million potentially being granted the same status in future.
A Labour spokeswoman confirmed this was not party policy to the Telegraph.
A Conservative spokesman said in the same paper: “Allowing foreigners to vote is Sir Keir Starmer’s admission that he doesn’t trust the British people.
“He is laying the groundwork for a referendum to rejoin the EU, something he campaigned so passionately for. And now he wants to rig the outcome.”
Settled EU migrants do already have the right to vote in some elections in the UK.
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This includes for the Scottish and Welsh parliaments, police and crime commissioners and local councils.
Meanwhile, Nigel Farage criticised Sir Keir’s new plans to tackle the small boats crisis.
The Labour leader pledged to treat people smugglers like terrorists and hinted at an EU returns agreement which may involve accepting quotas of migrants from the bloc.
The GB News presenter said: “So what’s the plan? Well, the plan is that we are going to rejoin Europol, not Interpol, where nation state police forces cooperate together, no Europol which is the EU’s own police force.
“But here’s the bit I can’t believe, even as members of the EU we did not join the EU’s refugee and asylum policy, we stayed out of it.
“But Starmer says that we will rejoin it, we’ll do a deal with Brussels, he’ll be off to see President Macron next week, the French will be nice and stop the boats coming.”
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