A legal challenge aimed at giving “substantial” numbers of Britons living in Europe the right to vote in the forthcoming EU referendum could throw into doubt the June 23 date of the vote if it succeeds, a court heard. The High Court in London is hearing a legal challenge against the government brought by several Britons living in Europe who claim they have been wrongly disenfranchised in the planned EU vote because they have lived outside Britain for 15 years, meaning they are ineligible to vote. The case is significant because there are between 1m to 2m Britons living in Europe — some of whom cannot vote as they have lived outside the UK for more than 15 years. The government claimed in written arguments on Wednesday that if the legal challenge succeeded, it could call into question the date of the referendum on June 23 as the case has been brought “late”.
“Further, in large part as a result of delay by the Claimants . . . it would be impossible for the necessary steps to be taken to implement a finding in their favour without calling into question the date of the EU referendum,” James Eadie QC, representing the government claimed in written arguments.
The government also claimed that to facilitate the registration of new voters, technical changes would be needed to the online voting registration service and election management systems. “Typically, such changes require a lengthy process of development, testing and delivery,” the government’s written arguments claim.
It says its decision to implement a 15-year cut off rule on voters is within EU law and does not interfere with free movement rights.
Full Article: High Court hears expat challenge to Brexit vote – FT.com.