Most citizens of other European Union countries living in Britain will not get to vote in a planned referendum on Britain’s membership of the bloc, the government said on Monday.
Prime Minister David Cameron, who has promised to renegotiate Britain’s EU ties ahead of a vote by the end of 2017, will embark on a tour of five European capitals later this week to hold talks with key EU leaders over his reform plans.
Cameron’s office said only those eligible to vote in British national elections, plus members of the upper house of parliament and Commonwealth citizens in Gibraltar, will get a say in the EU referendum.
That means British, Irish, Maltese, Cypriot and other Commonwealth citizens aged over 18 and resident in the UK, as well as UK nationals who have lived overseas for less than 15 years will be able to vote, but no other EU nationals.
“This is a big decision for our country, one that is about the future of the United Kingdom. That’s why we think it’s important that it is British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens that are the ones who get to decide,” a source in Cameron’s office said.