Life in the United Kingdom, A Journey to Citizenship

Chapter 4- Part VI

This section gives you information you need to UK nationality. If you want to apply for UK nationality, you have to pass 'Life in the UK' test before you apply. The test is based on chapters 2, 3 and 4 of the book "Life in the United Kingdom, A Journey to Citizenship". I have reproduced all three chapters here for your benefit. This is the study material for British Citizenship Test.

 

UK Nationality Home
Chapter 2
Part I
Part II
Part III
Chapter 3
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Chapter 4
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI
Chapter 5
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V
Part VI
Part VII
Chapter 6
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

THE ORDINARY CITIZEN
The right to vote
How does the ordinary citizen connect to government? As we have seen, full democracy came slowly to Britain. Only in 1928 did both men and women aged 21 and over gain the right to vote. The present voting age of 18 was set in 1969.

Both British born and naturalised citizens have full civic rights and duties (such as jury service), including the right to vote in all elections, as long as they are on the electoral register. Permanent residents who are not citizens have all civil and welfare rights except the right to hold a British passport and a general right to vote.

The electoral register
In order to vote in a parliamentary, local, or European election, you must have your name on the register of electors, known as the electoral register. If you are eligible to vote you may register at any time by contacting your local council election registration office. Voter registration forms are also available, in English, Welsh, and a number of other languages, via the Internet from the Electoral Commission, www.electoralcommission.org.uk

However the electoral register is also updated annually and an electoral registration form is sent to all households in September or October each year. The form should be completed according to the instructions, and should include everyone eligible to vote who is resident in the household on 15th October.

By law, a local authority has to make the electoral register available for anyone to look at. The register is held at the local electoral registration office (or council office in England and Wales) and some public buildings, such as libraries (however this is not always possible as new regulations require that any viewing of the electoral register is supervised, and libraries do not always have the necessary resources).

You have the right to have your name placed on the electoral register if you are aged 18 or over and a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, or a European Union member state. Citizens of the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and the Irish Republic resident in this country may vote in all public elections. Citizens of EU states, resident in the UK, have the right to vote in all but national parliamentary elections.

Participation
The number of people turning out to vote in parliamentary elections in Britain has been falling for several years, especially amongst the young. In the General Election of 2001, less than half of voters below the age of 25 actually voted. The Government and the political parties are looking for ways in which this trend might be reversed.

Standing for office

Citizens of the United Kingdom, the Irish Republic, or the Commonwealth, aged 21 or over, may stand for public office. However, there are some exceptions, which include peers, members of the armed forces, civil servants, and those found guilty of certain criminal offences.
To become a local councillor, a candidate must have a local connection with the area, through work, by being on the electoral register, or through renting or owning land or property.

This rule, however, does not apply to MP5, MEP5, or to members of the Scottish Parliament, or the Welsh or Northern Ireland Assemblies. Candidates standing for these bodies must pay a deposit of 500, which is not returned if they receive less than five per cent of the vote. The deposit for candidates standing as a Member of the European Parliament is 5,000. This is to discourage frivolous or hopeless candidates, though many still try their luck.

Contacting elected members

All elected members have a duty to serve and represent the interests of their constituents. Contact details of all your representatives and their parties are available from the local library.
Those of Assembly Members, MP5, and MEPs are listed in the phone book and Yellow Pages. An MP may be reached either at their constituency office or their
office in the House of Commons by letter or phone. The address: House of Commons, Westminster, London SW1A OAA, tel 020 7219 3000.
Many Assembly Members, MPs, and MEPs hold regular local 'surgeries', often on Saturday mornings. These are generally advertised in the local paper, and allow constituents to call in person to raise matters of concern. You can also find out the name of local MP and get in touch with them by fax through the website, http://www.writetothem.com . This service is free.

 

 
 
Traveling by Train in England and London - Information on getting and reading your train ticket, the high speed and regional train system; a link to train schedules.
 

 

Copyright Notice | Privacy policy | Disclaimer | Advertise with us