The UK government has ruled out extending the right to vote in the upcoming EU referendum to all British citizens living abroad, despite a promise made by the Conservative party chairman that it would.
The EU referendum bill, which will be announced after the Queen’s speech on Wednesday, will make clear that the franchise – the people eligible to vote – will be the same as in general elections, which is adults from the age of 18, Irish and Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK, and British citizens who have lived abroad for less than 15 years.
This means that more than 1 million EU citizens living in Britain will not be able to vote, as they are in local elections, in what would be seen as a victory for Eurosceptic campaigners.
The bill will also rule out giving the vote to 16- and 17-year-olds, an idea backed by Labour and the SNP.
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