Claims that EU citizens living in Lambeth received crucial voter registration forms after the deadline to apply had already passed are being vehemently challenged by Lambeth council.
Lambeth Liberal Democrats issued a statement on their website saying the deadline to submit the form was 7th May, but Lambeth council’s letters to many EU citizens in the borough landed on doormats on 8th May – including one to the Spanish partner of Helen Thompson, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Streatham constituency, who received the letter on 8th May.
But a Lambeth council spokesman said: “Lambeth council have gone above and beyond and done everything possible to help EU citizens register to vote at the forthcoming elections.
“Ordinarily we would contact EU citizens at the start of the year for EU elections taking place in May or June, allowing significantly more time for the completion of applications.
“But the government order confirming the UK’s participation in the 23 May elections provided a period of just over three weeks for EU citizens to register.
“All EU citizens registered to vote in Lambeth were sent a UC1 form and covering letter by post, with a 1st class pre-paid return envelope, at the earliest opportunity on 18 April.
“Reminder letters were sent to all those EU citizens who received a form in the first print run and an initial form was sent to newly-registered EU voters by 1st class Royal Mail on Friday 3 May.
“Posters urging people to register were displayed across Lambeth during this period.
“Under these circumstances we have done everything within our means to encourage EU citizens to register.
“Short notice of these elections and bank holidays meant some reminder letters were sent to residents who had returned their forms. “Anyone who returned them in time will be registered.
“I’m afraid that under these circumstances we have done everything within our means to encourage EU citizens to register but are not legally permitted to accept UC1 applications received after the deadline.”
Lambeth council have also issued a detailed list of actions taken to help non-UK EU citizens register:
In order to ensure EU citizens registered to vote in Lambeth were aware of the legal requirement to complete an additional UC1 application to vote in the UK at the EU election, we undertook the following actions:
An A3 poster was distributed to the following locations/organisations in Lambeth:
o Doctors surgeries
o Leisure centres
o Social housing blocks
o Sheltered accommodation
o Day centres
o Workspace providers
o Community centres/organisations
o Council buildings (displayed throughout Lambeth town hall and civic centre)
An ‘EU electoral plasma’ was displayed on information screens at Lambeth’s customer centre, on electronic BT InLink advertising boards throughout Lambeth and published on social media.
The Lambeth website homepage stated that the deadline for registering to vote was 7 May 2019 and contained a prominent link to our EU elections web pagewhich included detailed information for EU citizens living in the UK on how to register to vote at this election. This web page also mentioned that applicants should consider emailing us a scanned copy of their completed UC1 form in order to meet the registration deadline.
Lambeth Liberal Democrats statement says:
Lambeth Liberal Democrats are calling for an inquiry into Lambeth Council’s handling of the upcoming European Parliamentary elections after it emerged that EU citizens received crucial voter registration forms after the deadline to apply had already passed.
EU citizens in the UK who want to vote in the UK’s European Parliamentary elections on 23rd May have to fill out a supplementary registration form. The deadline to submit the form was 7th May, but Lambeth Council’s letters to many EU citizens in the borough landed on doormats on 8th May.
“It’s bad enough that EU citizens were not allowed to vote in the EU referendum in 2016,” said Helen Thompson, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Streatham constituency, whose Spanish partner received the letter on 8th May.
“Now Lambeth Labour has stopped EU citizens from making their voice heard in the European Parliamentary elections, when they would have had the chance to show their support for the UK remaining in the EU by voting for pro-remain parties like the Liberal Democrats.”
In their statement the Liberal Democrats are asking anyone affected by the issues to “please contact us” on email@example.com