Letter: Immigrant votes

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Kathy Marks claims that expatriate British citizens living in Australia are only allowed to vote in the coming referendum "because of a legal anomaly" ("'pounds 10 Poms' still clinging to the mother country", 4 November).

But how anomalous is it? All Australian citizens living in the United Kingdom are automatically eligible to be on the voters' roll here as citizens of a Commonwealth country. That's why the current possibility of excluding Pakistan from the Commonwealth would also disenfranchise those Pakistani citizens who rightly form such an important part of the electorate in many British cities.

The fact that Commonwealth immigrants have been given full political rights has been an important factor in helping good community relations in Britain. Certainly for us the continuation of such an inclusive policy is not just a "legal anomaly".

ROBERT BELL

London NW8

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