UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused the Labour Party on Thursday of trying to 'rig' their proposed second referendum on Brexit by giving a vote to 2 million of UK residents of EU nationality.
"It is going to be rigged in some way by getting in millions more voters who'd be very likely to vote one way rather than another, I think that would cause a great deal of public disquiet and I don't think it's the right way forward," Johnson said as he visited a factory in Derbyshire.
Minister Michael Gove echoed the Prime Minister's remarks in a BBC radio 4 interview on Friday morning: “It is the case that EU nationals don’t vote, have never voted in general elections, and therefore don’t vote, have never voted in referendums like the Brexit referendum – and, therefore, we just think it would be unfair,” he said.
The comments sparked outrage among EU nationals in UK. The group the3million, which represents them, said on Twitter:
"Adding EU citizens is not ‘fiddling’. It rights a democratic deficit created in 2016."
"We're not foreign agents as Mr Johnson implies but your “friends, colleagues and neighbours” - directly affected - who wish our interests to be represented exactly as everyone else’s."
The Labour party's manifesto mentions "giving full voting rights to all UK residents" but it is unclear if this would also apply to the so-called "Final Say referendum" on Brexit proposed by party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Euronews reached out to the Labour party for clarification and was awaiting their reply at the time of writing.