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A fair franchise?

    Lucy Gilchrist is Chairman of The London Scottish Conservative Club. 

    Now the date has been set, perhaps political minds could focus on the issue of the franchise for the Scottish independence referendum. For scant attention has been paid to the proposed usage of the electoral register for local government granting EU citizens who reside in Scotland the right to vote in the referendum despite not being British citizens. Is it really the will of the Scottish people that those who do not have the right to vote in a British general election are given the opportunity to try to break up the United Kingdom?

    In reality this means that an EU citizen who arrives in Scotland merely weeks prior to the registration date can vote whereas those who are Scots born and bred but perhaps temporarily working in London or elsewhere will be denied the right to decide the future of their own country.

    Respectfully it is for the Scottish Parliament to determine the details of the referendum but consider this – only one of the eleven Scottish Olympic medalists is reported to reside north of the border. Are we comfortable with branding their medal as 'Scottish triumphs' yet preventing them from having a voice? Worse still, is it right that we ask Scottish armed forces personnel to give their lives for Scotland as part of the United Kingdom but deprave them from having a say in its future?

    Lucy has a decade of experience in public affairs across the private, public and political sector. As part of the Conservative Party’s 2010 general election campaign, Lucy was Head of Communications for Scotland on reserved matters and based in campaign headquarters in Westminster.

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