Backlash after Gove dismisses proposals to allow EU nationals vote in second referendum

Michael Gove has sparked a massive backlash today, after he criticised Labour’s plan to let EU nationals vote in a second referendum.

The cabinet minister has caused anger, after he slammed Labour’s proposal, claiming it would be “an assault on democratic principles”.


He said: “There’s a basic principle of democratic fairness. It is the case that EU nationals don’t vote have never voted in general elections and therefore don’t vote have never voted in referendums.”

Despite it being pointed out that Brexit will directly affect EU voters living in the UK he said letting them vote would be “fundamentally an assault on democratic principles”.

But his comments have not gone down well. Once Twitter user said:

While another commented:

And it is not the first time Gove has shown that he is only interested in British nationals. Last month, he was accused of “whipping up detestable anti-immigrant sentiment” after he wrote an op-ed for the Times claiming that Labour’s immigration policy would make Britain “less safe”.

Now, he has dismissed the concerns of the some three million EU nationals who live in the UK with the same

Maike Bohn, founder of campaign group the3million said:

“Once again the Tory party is using words that portray EU citizens negatively to score a political point. Using the word “rigging” implies that long-term EU residents don’t have the UK’s best interests at heart. The Tories keep saying we are their colleagues, friends and family while simultaneously denying us a say. Giving EU citizens a voice in any future referendum is simply addressing the democratic deficit of the previous one.

Gove also said it would mean Britain would be more likely to favour Remain in this scenario. The Conservatives are running scared of democracy to push through Brexit. We can’t let them win.

4 responses to “Backlash after Gove dismisses proposals to allow EU nationals vote in second referendum

  1. Why not let all EU nationals vote, not just those living in the UK? If there is a vote to leave then these citizens will lose their right to live and work in the UK. This would surely bring everyone together! Never mind the 17.4m who voted to leave in a once in a generation referendum. They just need re-educating as to the true meaning of democracy. Referendum results are only to be respected when the people vote the right way. Any wrong result is proof of a democratic deficiet which must be addressed before the matter goes back to the people for a final (perhaps) say. All animals are equal but some are more equal than others.

  2. They are fomenting hatred of “foreigners” for no substantial reasons. It is creating scapegoats for their own failures.
    People who married English people, decades ago, have paid taxes, ALL taxes, in full, but are not willing to give up or loosing their own nationality, could be called denieing their origin, are hounded, basically for loving a person. And, by hounding the “foreigner” they are also stigmetising the husband/wife and their children. It is a deliberate policy to transfer their guilt caused by their policies, on to other innocent people. Scapegoating, dogwhistling of the worst sort.

  3. It is possible to make a case that voting in general elections and referenda, should be restricted to British citizens, or again to British citizens who are also permanently resident in the UK. A contrary case could also be made that any foreign citizens permanently resident here should also have the right to vote here. (It seems that is the case in New Zealand) It could also be argued that foreigner voting rights should be reciprocal, ie citizens of country X could vote here if British citizens could vote in X. ( This seems to be what is in Ld Elon’s mind)

    However the current position is that voting rights here are a mish-mash of eligibilities based on historical eventualities. In general elections and the 2016 referendum, British citizens 18 years and over resident in Britain could vote. But so could Irish and Commonwealth citizens resident here. However EU citizens (unless also commonwealth) could not.

    These right are not based on reciprocal arrangements. British citizens have some but not full voting rights in the Irish Republic. As far as I can see from a google and Wikipedia searches only some Commonwealth countries offer voting rights to resident British citizens, mainly New Zealand and some Caribbean countries. Some of the larger countries Australia, Canada, Pakistan, and India do not.

    It is difficult to see what democratic principal justifies the particular assortment of different voting rights in Britain. No doubt some will argue on the basis of identity with a particular historical understanding of Britishness, that eligibility should be narrow. I take a different view. I feel eligibility should be based on a wide franchise, related to involvement in and commitment to Britain as a series of closely inter-linked communities. This seems to me to be a reasonable, and consistent extension of traditional British democratic values, to account for our position in the modern globally connected world.

    I would not like to see this question become a party political slanging match. I would like to see some form of independent commission review the whole question.

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