Registration deadline for EU referendum extended after web overload

The deadline for people in Britain to register to vote in a referendum on EU membership has been extended, the electoral commission said, after a technical glitch left thousands of people unable to sign up before the deadline of midnight on Tuesday.

The deadline was extended by 48 hours on Wednesday. Prime Minister David Cameron said urgent discussions were held between the government and the electoral commission prior to the announcement.

"If you aren't registered and you want to vote in this EU referendum you should continue to register," Prime Minister David Cameron said on Twitter.

"Huge demand caused a system overload last night," he said.

The electoral commission said technical problems affected the final two hours of registration for the referendum, which takes place on June 23.

"No one should miss out on voting in this historic referendum because of the problem with the government's registration website last night," Alex Robertson, the commission's communications director, said in a statement after the extension.

"We are urging everyone who is not already registered to vote to take this last chance to do so before the end of Thursday," Robertson said.

Opposition leaders, including Labour's Jeremy Corbyn, had also called for the extension of the deadline for registration.

Some 45 million people are eligible to vote in the referendum, but many people are not expected to register or may register but not use their vote.

About 1.6 million people have registered online since the government began its campaign on May 15.

Several experts have forecast turnout of around 60 per cent, but Sky News on Wednesday quoted an electoral official as saying local authorities have been asked to prepare for a turnout of up to 80 per cent.

Voters will be asked the single question: Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

Last update: Fri, 24/06/2016 - 08:49

More from Europe

Bulldozers converge on charred remains of Calais migrant camp

Smoke rose over the remains of the charred migrant camp near the northern port city of Calais on Thursday, as most...

Putin: "stupid" to think Russia is preparing attack on NATO state

Russia is not preparing to attack a NATO member state, as that is "just unthinkable, stupid and unrealistic,"...

Germany denies custody to refugee who put his baby up for sale online

A man who offered his 40-day-old baby girl for sale on the internet has been denied custody of his daughter and will...

Italy seizes 77 million euros of cocaine from ship coming from Brazil

Some 385 kilogrammes of "very pure" cocaine, with a market value of 77 million euros (85 million dollars), were...

Report: Survivors tell Italian police 51 migrants missing at sea

Fifty-one migrants are missing in the Mediterranean Sea, people who were travelling with them told Italian police...