Anyone idly toying with the notion of voting Labour at the next general election should be deeply alarmed by last weekend’s news that Keir Starmer is seriously considering giving the vote to the almost 6 million EU nationals who have been granted, or have applied for, settled status in the UK.
The proposal is completely without constitutional merit. European Union citizens were never allowed to vote in British general elections during the whole time the UK was an EU member state. It is therefore impossible to see any good reason why they should be allowed to do so now that we have left.
What’s more, the European Court of Justice decided last year that British citizens no longer have the right to in EU municipal elections, saying that it was “an automatic consequence of the sole sovereign decision taken by the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union.” One might have thought that even Keir Starmer would recognise that what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, and rule out EU citizens’ participation in UK elections.
But Starmer, it should be remembered, is a dyed-in-the-wool Europhile who was pressing for a second referendum before Britain completed its EU departure, and he has other priorities. Nobody seriously doubts that, given half a chance, he would drag the UK back into the EU. And flooding the electoral register with EU citizens – who, let’s face it, would be far more likely than native Brits to support rejoining – would be an ideal way to help achieve that aim.
And what further constitutional chicanery would Labour get up to if elected? They already want to lower the voting age to 16. No doubt, perhaps in coalition with the Lib Dems, they would also introduce proportional representation – a sure-fire way of securing the woolly, mushy, social democratic political system that is the ultimate ideal of the leftist metropolitan elite.
So it’s no bad thing that Starmer’s plan to gerrymander our general elections has been rumbled. Our democracy is a precious thing: far too valuable to be left to a Labour Party desperate for power at any price.