A fair EU Referendum?

I sent the following yesterday to local media outlets and my MP

Kensington and Chelsea-20120313-00054

On Friday 5th June it will be 40 years since the British people had a vote on our membership of the European Union. Now we are promised another referendum by David Cameron. But will it be fair?

Already there is talk that the EU Referendum Bill may be amended to allow about 1.5 million non-British citizens a vote on the future of our nation on the grounds that they are EU citizens who live here. Of course, if EU nationals who have come to the UK have taken the trouble to gain British citizenship then they deserve to have a vote. If they have lived in the UK for donkey’s years but kept their Italian or Spanish citizenship then they do not.

There is also the suggestion that the vote would exclude military personnel and many other British people temporarily overseas.

It is also a concern that the Bill makes no provision for a “purdah” period to stop the government unfairly interfering in the Referendum campaign.

None of these things would be fair. Worse, they would be dangerous. It these ideas are adopted they will call into question the legitimacy of the referendum.

If David Cameron, his ministers, or the Lords take us down the road of giving EU nationals a vote in the EU referendum it tells us the vote will be a sham and they have no confidence they can win it – without gerrymandering the result.

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