Over half of UK MEPs ask for investigation into UK’s ‘declining democratic standards’

A cross-party group of 38 UK MEPs has written to a high-level international legal commission to ask for its intervention over ‘declining democratic standards’ in the UK. The letter [1] to the Venice Commission [2], signed by over half the UK’s MEPs raises concerns over the exclusion of specific groups of voters and undemocratic standards in both the EU referendum in 2016 and this year’s European elections.

The Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat MEPs have asked the commission to investigate breaches of spending rules and data-protection laws as well as the exclusion of non-UK EU citizens residing in the UK from voting during the 2016 referendum. They have also asked them to investigate the disenfranchisement of UK citizens resident in other EU countries and non-UK EU citizens resident in the UK from the European elections this year.

North East Labour MEP Jude Kirton-Darling, who co-signed the letter, said:

"It is clear that this Conservative government has refused to take seriously the disenfranchisement of citizens who were entitled to carry out their most important democratic right to vote. The deafening silence from this government to call for an inquiry or even any signs of concern suggests a decline in democratic standards and forces us to take this serious step of reaching out to a respected, high-level legal body, the Vienna Commission.

“People in our region and across the country are being disenfranchised and laws have been broken. But most worryingly, it is our democracy itself that is broken. Brexit is a crime scene, yet our efforts to ensure the perpetrators face justice, using the agencies available in the UK such as the Electoral Commission and National Crime Agency, have so far failed. It is time to look further afield to international bodies upholding democratic standards and protecting the rule of law, which is why we are taking our case to the Vienna Commission.”

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