The franchise for Britain’s referendum on the EU constitution is, as expected, based on the franchise for Westminster elections:
… a person is entitled to vote in the referendum if, on the day it is held, he is—
(a) an individual who would be entitled to vote as an elector at a parliamentary election in a constituency in the United Kingdom;
(b) a peer who would be entitled to vote as an elector at a local government election in an electoral area in Great Britain or at a local election in an electoral area in Northern Ireland; or
(c) a Commonwealth citizen who would be entitled to vote in Gibraltar as an elector at a European Parliamentary election.
So, the question of non-British EU citizens has been settled: We don’t get a vote — with one exception. As I pointed out yesterday, subsection (a) does not specificially exclude UK-resident citizens of the Republic of Ireland, who are entitled to vote in Westminster elections.
I need to do some more checking about what this means, but I do know that the reciprocal agreement between Ireland and the UK — which is based on the UK’s Ireland Act 1949 and the Ninth Amendment to the Irish consitution — does not extend to constitutional referendums in the Republic of Ireland, where Irish-resident UK citizens are excluded, despite being allowed to vote for the Dáil.
If Parliament approves the proposed wording, it is therefore conceivable that Irish residents of the UK will find themselves with votes in two countries’ EU referendums. Does anybody know more?