Brexit and Parish Council Elections

10/01/2019

The juxtaposition of Brexit and the 2019 local elections raises the question of the eligibility of some UK residents to stand as parish councillors.

The UK is scheduled to leave the EU at 11.00pm UK time on Friday 29th March 2019, when the 1972 European Communities Act is repealed. This date was fixed when the Prime Minister invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty on 29th March 2017 which allowed the UK and the EU two years to agree terms.

The last date on which the Notice of Election must be published for the elections on 2nd May 2019 is just three days earlier on Tuesday 26th March 2019.  Completed nomination papers must be delivered to returning officers by 4.00pm on Wednesday 3rd April 2019, just three working days following Brexit.

At present, EU citizens are eligible to serve as parish councillors providing other criteria are met such as residency in the parish and being registered to vote.

That means EU citizens will be eligible to stand for election several weeks after Nomination Papers are made available for completion, but presumably not when nominations close.

The current Electoral Commission guidelines for parish council elections are available to download HERE.  I surmise they will need some revision, quite soon.