Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour MEP for the North East of England, called for a guarantee on citizens’ voting rights to be included in the final EU Withdrawal Agreement in an emotional speech today.
Jude spoke passionately during a hearing, which took place in the EU’s Petitions Committee in Brussels, on the disenfranchisement of British citizens who have lived elsewhere in the EU for over 15 years and subsequently lost their right to vote in UK national elections.
The Labour MEP, who was visibly moved during the hearing, is asking for the issue to be addressed during a full European Parliament plenary session and thus inform all MEPs of the democratic injustice faced by disenfranchised EU citizens.
The main petition was brought forward by British citizen Jacqueline Cotterill who is also calling on the committee to help her have her voice heard by the whole of the European Parliament. This petition was wholeheartedly supported by Jude and as a member of the Petitions Committee she also requested today’s hearing.
Jude Kirton-Darling MEP commented:
“Jacqui’s petition, along with so many others we’ve received, asks MEPs to step in and ensure that citizens’ democratic rights are protected and I support her in calling for this important issue to be debated during the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg by all MEPs.
“This should have been at the very heart of Brexit negotiations, but with the clock ticking fast and less than a year left, it is now a matter of urgency that we address these concerns.
“I am glad the Petitions Committee is taking this issue seriously, as it promised to communicate these concerns to both Brexit negotiating teams. But there is more groundwork left to be done and I will continue to support Jacqui and all other petitioners in getting their voice heard by the whole of the European Parliament.”