Monday, 23 February 2009

Enfranchise the Lords

There are some people are are not allowed to vote in General Elections -
  • EU citizens resident in the UK (although they can vote at elections to local authorities, devolved legislatures and the European Parliament)
  • anyone other than British, Irish and qualifying Commonwealth citizens
  • convicted persons detained in pursuance of their sentences (though remand prisoners, unconvicted prisoners and civil prisoners can vote if they are on the electoral register)
  • anyone found guilty within the previous five years of corrupt or illegal practices in connection with an election

and members of the House of Lords.

It is unusual for members of one house to be barred from voting in elections for a fully elected chamber. The original reasons were forgotten, though I discovered that Thomas Jefferson had explained the origin of the ban.

Today Lord Dubs will ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will extend the right to vote in general elections to members of the House of Lords.