Results and Comments

Welcome to the Voting Rights blog of which aims to draw attention to the denial of voting rights to British expats who have lived outside the UK for more than fifteen years. Scroll down to view results and comments.

If you have not already done so, all we ask of you as a British expat is to add your vote below in favour of voting rights for British expatriates who have lived outside the UK for more than 15 years.

You can click on “View results”  above, to see how we are doing and then by clicking on “Comments (xx)” access a thread of comments to which you can also add your own after scrolling down to the “comment ” box.

We believe that the UK should enable and encourage all its expat citizens – not just some of them – to participate fully in the political process in their home country, by giving them unrestricted voting rights in national elections, as in most other advanced democracies (and indeed in many so-called third-world countries).

We hope you enjoyed a visit to our whole site, and we hope too that you  decided to express your support in our feedback poll. Wherever you are in the world, especially if you are one of the 5.5 million Britons living abroad, thank you for your visit!

For statistical purposes only, please add as a minimum your current country of residence if commenting further in “Leave a Reply”  below.

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398 Responses to Results and Comments

  1. Scott R says:

    Hi nice readding your post

  2. Steve, Thailand says:

    I was assured i still had a vote in 2010, only to find out in 2015 that the Ceredigion ER office had made a mistake. Not that I got to vote anyway. The postal vote didn’t arrive in Thailand until after the election. A distinct aroma of rodent seems to surround that office. I hear that they had issues in 2015 over disappearing registrations

    • Steve, Thailand says:

      I was present in the Uk when the 2015 GE was announced. As I was there for several weeks, I decided to test the West Somerset ER office on the terms of uk residence for registration in the district where i was born. Basically i got no further than a lobby phone conversation with an officer which left me with no relevant info. I got the distinct impression that most of these offices are now staffed by establishment lackies and jobsworths

      • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

        If you’ve been non-resident in the UK for more than 15 years, current legislation bars you from registering to vote even in the district where you were born. However, this could be one way of identifying the constituency in which you could be registered, in the event of new legislation restoring the right to vote (for life) for all expat Brits.

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      Unfortunately the postal vote is not a practical solution for enabling overseas electors to vote on time and so currently setting up a trusted proxy vote is the best advice.

      • I have been abroad, except for a couple of years, since 1968. Would any one care to provide information about what are the sources of resistance in the UK to expats Brits with passports(and in my case, property in the UK) from having a vote at local and national votes, referenda.

      • Dom McGrath says:

        Historically I´d say the labour party are the biggest blocker, who are under the misapprehension that most ex-pats are rich middle class professionals sipping gin & tonic in some exotic colonial destination and thereby in their minds more likely to vote conservative. It was labour that brought in the 15 year rule in the first place.

      • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

        Historically expat Brits were first allowed to vote (by a Conservative government) for up to 5 years from abroad, with the Representation of the People Act in 1985. This was subsequently extended to up to 20 years under Mrs Thatcher but then reduced to 15 years by Tony Blair’s Labour government. Labour then has traditionally been against votes for expat Brits as Dom McGrath has stated in his subsequent comment to your post. However, some individual Conservative MPs also seem to have some reservations about allowing expats to vote, reflecting the objections of the UK resident British population in general that e.g. “if you don’t live in the UK then you shouldn’t have a vote as you will not have to live with the consequences of your vote”. There is also the fact that many expats do not pay UK income tax as non-residents and so why should they have “representation without taxation”? The EU referendum was of course a good example of why British expats living in other member states should have been able to vote because, as we are increasingly aware, they are being impacted by the Brexit vote, particularly with respect to their reduced rights. The effect of the popular press in driving the Brexit “leave” vote is also reflected in the way it impacts the negative public opinion of the British expat lifestyle as described in Dom McGrath’s comment.

  3. susankubitz says:

    Before my (German) husband’s hopes of starting up his own electroplating business took us to central Germany (ex-GDR) in the 90’s we lived in Birmingham. We had been able to bring up our children together in Britain because of a successful human rights campaign in 1974. We were euphoric when the Wall came down and felt that German reunification was to a certain extent an expression of the efforts also made by the EU to live together in peace after all the horrors of WWll. Like other people commenting here we felt we could simply take our two separate nationalities for granted because in any case we both belonged to the EU. My German friends ask me now if I want to become German – but I’ve always believed in reforming things from within. Until very recently I was proud to be British: have been a frequent returner to the UK, am still active as teacher of British English and translator, and like other people on this site I care about Britain. Thank you to the people who have got this site together.

    It was a shock to find that I was not allowed to vote in the referendum. Had taught an “All about Britain” course at our local University of Technology as part of the Europastudium offered to students as an extra qualification for many years (1996 – 2010), always saying “It’s not a tidy picture but somehow we manage to steer a diplomatic path through all the complex historical relationships without disruption:
    – England-Wales-Scotland-Northern Ireland)
    – Britain- earlier colonies (i.e. USA)
    – Britain-ex-Victorian Empire (i.e. Commonwealth in Foreign Affairs and, within Britain, greater
    progress on living together multiculturally than I saw in Germany)
    – Britain- EU”.
    To put my emphatic approval for things like the Erasmus scheme into practice, I have had numerous students from the UK (one was Polish, had lived in the UK since his early teens) here on placement with me or with other local companies. It is not only my own lost vote that grieves me but the loss and destruction of opportunities like this for young people to make friendships within a European Union that has been a channel for co-operative energies. And without my vote, where is my identity as this sort of constructive British European?

  4. Susan Kubitz says:

    Before my (German) husband’s hopes of starting up his own electroplating business took us to central Germany (ex-GDR) in the 90’s we lived in Birmingham. We had been able to bring up our children together in Britain because of a successful human rights campaign in 1974. We were euphoric when the Wall came down and felt that German reunification was to a certain extent an expression of the efforts also made by the EU to live together in peace after all the horrors of WWll. Like other people commenting here we felt we could simply take our two separate nationalities for granted because in any case we both belonged to the EU. My German friends ask me now if I want to become German – but I’ve always believed in reforming things from within. Until very recently I was proud to be British: have been a frequent returner to the UK, am still active as teacher of British English and translator, and like other people on this site I care about Britain. Thank you to the people who have got this site together.

    It was a shock to find that I was not allowed to vote in the referendum. Had taught an “All about Britain” course at our local University of Technology as part of the Europastudium offered to students as an extra qualification for many years (1996 – 2010), always saying “It’s not a tidy picture but somehow we manage to steer a diplomatic path through all the complex historical relationships without disruption:
    – England-Wales-Scotland-Northern Ireland)
    – Britain- earlier colonies (i.e. USA)
    – Britain-ex-Victorian Empire (i.e. Commonwealth in Foreign Affairs and, within Britain, greater
    progress on living together multiculturally than I saw in Germany)
    – Britain- EU”.
    To put my emphatic approval for things like the Erasmus scheme into practice, I have had numerous students from the UK (one was Polish, had lived in the UK since his early teens) here on placement with me or with other local companies. It is not only my own lost vote that grieves me but the loss and destruction of opportunities like this for young people to make friendships within a European Union that has been a channel for co-operative energies. And without my vote, where is my identity as this sort of constructive British European?

  5. Charles says:

    Just another disenfranchised Expat living in Brussels for many years, but now facing the prospect of a complete re-think & upheaval, as like many others I no longer have the support of a large corporate employer with the clout to arrange things.
    Having planned my life around the principles of the EU – i.e. the freedom to consider a future in any one of 28 countries, while still retaining the right to return to the UK should relatives there need help or support – my options have just shrunk to almost nothing.

    That impact, on all British Expats, is brought into sharp relief by having been excluded from a vote on an issue that will potentially affect me & mine far more than those actually living in the UK.
    How many Brexpats have kids settled in local schools, or are no longer spring chickens but still need to earn a living? They don’t stand a chance now, meaning already, with the uncertainty and lack of political leadership in Westminster.

    Politicians played party politics with a far greater issue, asked the wrong question, and then resigned en-masse as soon as the sh*t hit the proverbial.
    The PM walked away, the Leave campaigners all jumped, the opposition is in disarray, and the rest of them seem more concerned about who will be the next PM than the current mess and the millions whose futures are now in limbo.
    Given the exclusion of Expats from the vote, and of UK resident EU taxpayers, the result of this referendum is a complete travesty based on sensational campaign lies.

    And yet there appears to be not one UK statesman from any party willing to lead a campaign of common sense that would include Expats, and try to save the UK from sliding backwards into the 1980s, or worse.

    Very dark days that I never thought to see, but thanks to the people behind this website, and to all those who refuse to sit back and accept this nonsensical farce.

    • Dominic McGrath says:

      Surely after so many years you have the option of Belgian nationality, in such case you will have the best of both systems in Europe and in UK exclusive club, whatever it becomes. I think it’s a positive.
      I’m long since disenfranchised as regards voting is concerned but used my time in Europe to become leagally entiteled to German,Italian and Spanish nationality, should I want it.
      I hear in Germany they are already talking about offering new UK university graduates dual nationality should they choose to work there.
      I think we need to look longterm to see the advantages that currently may not seem so apparent.

      • Kate Scarratt says:

        I hope that applying for Belgian nationality isn’t as complicated and eccentric as applying for French nationality, as otherwise it could take Charles a very long time. In France you have to jump through many hoops, and nothing is certain, especially the length of time involved.

      • Julie says:

        After living in France for 30 years my Italian husband looked into the possibility of taking French nationality. Apparently it,s takes a minimum of two years and the list of documents to provide is endless, not only for yourself but your parents etc, all translated into French, plus your Financial history for the last I don’t know how many years, how much property you own etc etc. Unfortunately the fact that I have lived, worked and paid taxes here for all that time is not sufficient…… It might be easier for someone married to a French national, I hope so for them.

      • Dominic McGrath says:

        Probably an example of the heavy bureaucracy of fellow EU member countries, compared to UK mentality, that has led to frustration and ultimate push for Brexit.

  6. Kate Scarratt says:

    That’s so much better, thank you to the Administrator.

  7. Nicholas Newman says:

    In the window which should open when you click on “Comments” you should be able to scroll down very rapidly to the end, with the latest comments there. What computer system do you use?

  8. Kate Scarratt says:

    No wish to change the subject, but I’m finding it very difficult to see the most recent comments and replies, even when I get an email to say there’s something new and click on the link. Everything seems to be from 2011. I can’t scroll through years of comments, life’s too short! Is it just me? And if so, and someone can help, how will I ever find their reply??

    • Kate Scarratt says:

      Actually, I think it’s just me. I tried clicking on every link in the email and finally found one that led me to the recent comments. But anyone new to the site might think there’s been no activity on it since 2011, and not bother to hunt further through the comments. Most recent ones first might be useful.

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      Thank you Kate for raising this difficulty with the way the comments are presented and also to Nicholas further above for his contribution and diligently scrolling down.
      I’ve just looked into the system settings and reset the comments pages to present in the order of latest to earliest received I hope that improves your user experience.
      My apologies for overlooking this for so long.
      Kind regards,

  9. lenthall, Ben says:

    There are many things I dislike about this referendum. First, that it’s taking place at all, simply so the Tory party can attempt to heal a wound. Our kind of democracy consists in voting for a party who you trust more than the others to make the right decisions on your behalf. And if they screw up they get kicked out next time. But whether it’s the tiny CGT union in France trying to bring the country to a standstill because the government THEY voted in have attempted to do something they don’t agree with rather than waiting until the next election, or the Tories in the UK asking the public to take responsibility for a decision which is too complicated ever to be entrusted to a public obsessed by immigration and too difficult for the government to resolve amongst themselves, it is disastrous.
    But it is also, curiously, undemocratic. It’s the democracy of the lynch mob. Remember in the old movies it was the process of law in the courtroom that proved innocence, not the pitchforks and rope outside. And this whole process is made worse by the blatant lies, on both sides of the argument.. Of course UK immigration is a problem, though nothing like the sort of problem the fear-mongers claim with their skewed statistics nor will it ever be regulated by tub thumping little Englanders. And clearly any lie is OK and unaccountable providing it gets the vote. Donald Trump would be proud.
    I resent totally the exclusion of European ex-pats from this vote about their and their country’s future almost as much as I resent the fact that it’s taking place at all.

  10. pcg says:

    You obviously haven’t read your way through any of the earlier comments or you wouldn’t ask “why would we?” When the rules change, you won’t have to register to vote.

  11. Tom says:

    I’m an expat and I don’t think we should have the right to vote at all after we permanently leave the UK. Why would we? Their elections don’t affect us and we shouldn’t have influence over the lives of the people who are still living there.

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      The trouble is Tom that those British expats living in the EU and not necessarily permanently will be affected by the Vote in the EU referendum, particularly in the event of an exit!

      • lenthall, Ben says:

        Not to mention all those expats, permanent or not, who, because of the nature of their earlier UK employment have no choice but to be taxed at (UK) source. They, surely, would expect to have a vote for the government that’s responsible for taxing them?

      • Kate Scarratt says:

        It’s not just a matter of taxes – you can live I the UK and not pay tax. To me it’s a matter of human rights. I shouldn’t be disenfranchised. I have friends in Switzerland and France who have worked, raised families, paid taxes, and are now retired, who have no vote either in the UK or their countries of residence. Why should they be disenfranchised? Local elections are local; having a vote in those is not like having a vote in a general election or referendum. Most countries allow their expats such a vote. I now live in France, and I hope that long before my 15 years are up, the law will have been changed – as promised.

      • Ben Lenthall says:

        I couldn’t agree more. The franchise is a basic modern human right. I don’t particularly care what the basis is for voting. If it’s where I pay my taxes, I’ll vote in France (whose criterion is nationality and I’m neither interested in changing my roots, nor in the lengthy and taxing process to acquire it there) . Or, like France I’ll vote on the basis of nationality- i.e. In the UK. But for the EU and others to have made no progress in ensuring that everyone has the right to vote SOMEWHERE is nothing short of scandalous.

      • Julie crucitti says:

        Ben, I so agree with your last comment. In fact I said something similar in an earlier comment.

  12. Kate Scarratt says:

    I have friends in France and Switzerland who have worked there all their working lives since University, paid their rates and taxes, and raised families. That anyone who has invested so heavily in a country is completely disenfranchised (apart from local elections) is scandalous. I retired to France last December, so at least I’ll have a vote in the UK for a while.

  13. John COX says:

    I have two things to say.
    1. We live in France and have only minimal voting rights here .. local “parish” elections only. However, we are taxed to the full on our UK-derived income. I’d be happy to obtain full voting rights here in France .. or in the UK. But right now we have neither.
    2. There’s been a whole lot of noise recently about free movement of people within the EU. This is pretty meaningless if you can’t actually vote in the country to which you have moved. The law in EU contries varies widely. That doesn’t make sense either.

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      I agree it doesn’t make sense under freedom of movement within the EU but currently the responsibility for national voting rights under the principle of subsidiarity is devolved to individual member states.


    • Ben Lenthall says:

      But John Cox is absolutely right. I too live in France and have no right to vote at national level either here or in the UK. You would think that the principles of EU suffrage would have been sorted out fairly early on, but as with so many things, it gets into a file marked ‘ too difficult.’
      I frankly dont care too much what the basis of suffrage should be, whether it should be nationality as in France or based on where you pay your taxes but I do care very much about being totally disenfranchise..

      • Julie C says:

        I agree, having lived in France for over 25 years I don’t have a right to vote anywhere, although my Italian husband still votes in Italy. When I first had the right to vote at 18, it was a right for all adult British Citizens, regardless of paying tax. So since when have voting rights been linked to paying tax? (even if that is not the case). I strongly feel that as a European resident I should have the right to vote somewhere. It’s not very democratic if I can’t, is it.

  14. Kate Scarratt says:

    Expat Americans can vote in home elections. Why can’t we? Most expat Europeans can vote in home country elections. Why can’t we? Even expats from some so-called third world countries can vote in home elections. Why can’t we? What is different about our situation? Do we not have access to the technology they all have access to? If every expat Brit registered to vote, that might help. I know people in France who could register but haven’t got round to it. We need a strong voice, and that starts with numbers!

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      You’ve identified the real problem of lack of numbers as of the estimated 5 – 6 million expat Brits (of which an unknown proportion are already disqualified by the 15 year rule)only some +113, 000 were registered to vote at the last general election.
      The current government has a “Votes for Life” bill in progress in parliament to remove this artificial limit on the voting rights of British citizens abroad. However, without a substantial increase in expat numbers voting in the EU referendum, it will meet considerable opposition particularly (historically) from the Labour party with one of the major arguments against being that most expats don’t seem to be interested in voting anyway.The second argument against is that expats should not have the right to vote because since they do not live in the UK they will not be impacted or have to live by the result (although a counter argument is that EU resident British expats will be impacted by the result of the EU referendum in the event of a Brexit).A third argument against is that expats should not have the right to vote because they do not pay taxes (although many still do particularly those on public sector pensions who are still taxed at source in the UK or those like myself who still pay council tax on property in the UK).

  15. Kate Scarratt says:

    I’ve just discovered that I do have the right to vote in the Brexit referendum, despite internet rumours to the contrary. It’s in black & white on the government website “About my vote”. I’m a bit worried that expat Brits will think they don’t have the right to vote in the Referendum. We do!

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      You are right to be concerned, Kate. Those British expats who were last registered on the electoral roll of a UK constituency less than 15 years ago can still register to vote but many are not aware of this and should make sure that they make their voice heard.

  16. Kate Scarratt says:

    I moved to France two months ago. If I miss out on the Brexit vote in June, I consider that to be scandalous!

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      Thank you for your comment, Kate.
      You didn’t say how long you have been non-resident in the UK but, if this is less than 15 years, you will still be able to register to vote in the constituency where you were last on the electoral roll in order to vote in the EU referendum.

  17. Nicholas Newman says:

    Further to my post on 21 February, please see the Overseas Voters Bill, just published, and due for second reading in the House of Commons the day after tomorrow 26 February 2016, at

    Click to access 16043.pdf

    I wrote to David Cameron on 22 February suggesting he could use this opportunity, or an alternative, to give us our votes back in time for the Brexit referendum – no reply so far.

    Would those of you with further networks and address lists please forward this, as I am not at all sure how visible it is.

    By the way I also received notification of this from the UK Parliament system with an inaccessible address http://www.publications.parliament.ukpa/bills/cbill/2015-2016/0043/16043.pdf – because of a missing “/“ between “uk” and “pa”, so if you have also received it, please rather use the link above in my second line, which works.

  18. Mike says:

    To rub salt into the wound, the Irish living in the UK will be able to vote in the referendum but any of us living in Ireland or other parts of the EU will not.
    The Conservative 2015 manifesto promise mentioned above was hopeful but ultimately a pack of lies. I guess the Euroseptics in the party suppressed it for fear of boosting the “remain” vote.

  19. Ben Lenthall says:

    I too feel scandalised by the thought that in the 21st century anyone in a western democracy can be totally disenfranchised.
    And although as a long term French resident (but unwilling to become French simply so as to be able to vote somewhere) I of course would never support Brexit, it is fairly typical of the absurdity of ‘ever closer union’ that such a simple thing as a basis for a national election enfranchisement has never been agreed between the member states.

  20. Thalia Verheyen says:

    I definetly agree that expats should be allowed to vote – if nothing else at least on the EU referendum as this affects us most directly. Personally I am sick and tired of being punished for living abroad. Even getting a passport costs us more (and I don’t mean the postal fees!). I suppose it’s quite handy for the government to have a large amount of people whose money can be accessed without any fear of retribution come election time. I would ask the British Government: are you really that desperate? I live on the Dutch side of the German-Dutch boarder and am married to a German who works in Germany and neither of these countries make life for their expats as difficult as GB does.

    • Julie Crucitti-Spear says:

      My husband is Italian and still has his vote there. He has lived in France for over 35 years so the fact that Brits who have been out of the UK for more than 15/20 years is nothing to do with the EU. So why can’t:won’t the UK gov do something about this???

      • nickiwi says:

        Because we are considered to be traitors for having left the UK for more than 15 years, even those of us who have remained abroad BECAUSE of being British citizens. Many of us had been recruited to international organisations of which the UK is a member, as British citizens, and are still deprived of the vote. There is no sign that the votes for life bill will be introduced before the referendum, and there was even a statement somewhere to the effect that even if it was, it would not apply to the Brexit referendum.

      • Ben Lenthall says:

        You’d think if Cameron wanted his view to prevail, he’d ensure the passage of the votes for life Bill pre-referendum.

      • Nicholas Newman says:

        Absolutely. And also a paper by Conservatives Abroad mentioned the Votes for Life bill, but nowhere else can I find it. It was in the Conservative Party manifesto in 2015 (“We will complete the electoral register, by working to include more of the five million Britons who live abroad. We will introduce votes for life, scrapping the rule that bars British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from voting.”) but not in the Queen’s speech, and we were excluded from the European Referendum Act. I also recall seeing somewhere a declaration that the Votes for life bill would NOT come in in time for the referendum. There is an “Overseas Voters” bill which had its first reading in July last year and is due for second reading on 26 February 2016 – the text is not yet available. It is a private member’s bill but probably represents the last chance for us.
        If David Cameron is serious, he will ensure we are added to this and that it will not suffer the fate of so many private members’ bills.

  21. Julie Crucitti-Spear says:

    Is there a petition we can sign to demand a vote in the EU referendum. I’ve been in France since 1986 so am well out of the 15 year rule.

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      To access such a petition, you can click on Petition: Votes for Life before EU Ref. on the upper menu bar of this website blog.

    • Dom McGrath says:

      I guess as the magority of Brit European Ex-Pats would be voting to stay in Europe, we might be the ones who are able to swing the vote as currently the feeling is most UK based Brits will be voting out. Im sure Mr.Cameron would speed up the manefesto promised to change the 15 year rule if he realized this.

      • Nicholas Newman says:

        Mr Cameron is perfectly aware of this but apparently he doesn’t want to risk any further anger from the Eurosceptics. See Harry Shindler’s letters to him.
        I would add that even people employed in international institutions as British citizens and because they are British citizens lose their right to vote in national elections after 15 years absence. The UK abandons those who work ultimately for the UK abroad, except for those in diplomatic and military posts.

  22. I lived in France from 1972 on, and now live in Austria. I have a flat in London and pay local taxes there.It would be great to have a vote, or better have a number of MPs representing overseas “constituencies”.

    • Dominic McGrath says:

      You will also find you will be stung for capital gains on your UK property if you sell it, as it no longer counts as your first tax free UK residence whilst you are non resident.

  23. R Coppage says:

    We have both now lived in France for 27 years; both served in HM Forces, and both pay UK tax (as well as French taxes). I fail to understand why I can do nothing (legal) to change this iniquitous system.

  24. catherine Staveley says:

    I have lived and worked in Spain for over 25 years and as I am a tax payer in Spain would like to be able to vote in general elections here and am happy not to be allowed to vote in UK general elections.Some kind of reciprocal arrangements need to be studied by Europe. But the EU referendum is a totally different matter and I feel strongly that the 15 year limit is unfair, undemocratic and should be challenged in all ways possible.How can we be denied a voice in a referendum that will affect us directly?

    • Mike Hughes says:

      I agree. I live in the Netherlands and cannot vote in the national or provincial elections here. I can vote for a mayor, MEP and water board members. I cannot vote in UK general election because of the 15 year rule nor will I have a vote in the EU referendum, which could really have an impact on both our private lives, pensions and employment rights. What I think is pouring salt on the wound is that any UK resident citizen of a Commonwealth country will have that right to decide on the in/out referendum. If people from those great seats of democracy like Nigeria, Fiji and Pakistan can have their say, why shouldn’t we.

      Everybody reading this should urgently petition as many MEPs, Ministers, Lords and MPs as possible. Highlight this disgraceful backtrack by the Prime Minister in the press, media and Twitter etc.

      • George Morley says:

        Mike, You said : What I think is pouring salt on the wound is that any UK resident citizen of a Commonwealth country will have that right to decide on the in/out referendum.
        Not true because if the 15 yr rule affects everyone !
        But I agree that we should all have the vote GM. Canada.

  25. Mike Grant says:

    I was born in the UK of parents who were British citizens and who took an active part in the fight against Fascism in WWII. I’ve been living in France for the past 30 years but I’m none-the-less British and would never relinquish my nationality. Serious consequences for my country and for the EU may result from the referendum vote and I find it an absurd and small-minded measure that deprives me from having my part in this decision.

  26. Pat & Lorraine McKie says:

    If the 15 year rule is not overturned, today’s election would be the last time we could vote in the UK elections as we have now lived on France for 13 years. Having paid our dues all our working lives and now receiving a State Pension, we feel we should continue to have a voice in the UK.

    • Dominic McGrath says:

      Welcome to the club. I-ve been living ouside UK for 28 years and have been deprived of a vote most of my working life, even though I have a house and pay taxes in UK..

      Apparantly removal of the rule is in the conservative manefesto but will most likely only be implemented if they enter goverment without a coalition, so don’t hold your breath.

    • jaboz55 says:

      Expats now have to rely on the generally unreliable Tories to honour their Manifesto promise to abolish the 15 Year Rule in good time before the planned 2017 In/Out Referendum on the UK’s continued membership of the European Union.

      • PCG says:

        Labour had no interest in this issue because they didn’t think they’d get any electoral advantage from it. Nick Clegg actually said we’d all turned our backs on our country and therefore didn’t deserve a vote. Abolishing the 15 year rule is in the Conservative manifesto and it will happen. Get over it – I’m sure you’ll find plenty of other things to whinge about over the next 5 years.

      • jaboz55 says:

        Some years ago, David Cameron gave a ‘cast iron guarantee’ that a Referendum on Europe would be held. But he failed to deliver. It is therefore prudent to be sceptical about his other promises towards Expats, such as abolishing the 15 Year Rule. (After all, the opportunity occurred late last year and again earlier this year, but was opposed by the government!).
        The last government worked hard to alienate Expats and even began legislation to take away Winter Fuel Allowances and other Benefits from Expat OAP’s. It even ‘fiddled the figures’ – by adding in sub-tropical French Oveseas Departments – to ensure that Expats in France couldn’t qualify.
        It’s not a matter of whingeing, but of rights earned by Britons before their retirement who still pay UK tax on their pensions and therefore have an interest in the colour of the government. Besides, voting is supposed – according to the United Nations and the European Union – to be a matter of universal’ adult suffrage’ by right of nationality. Britain is one of very few supposedly democratic countries where this fundamental right is still not respected.
        Why should things be different now that the Conservatives have an overall majority?. Let’s see what is in the Queen’s Speech and the priority given to Expat affairs.

      • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

        To be fair on the coalition’s record concerning the 15-year-rule, with Nick Clegg in particular with his Liberal Democrats(and Labour) against, there was then no prospect of the Conservatives succeeding with a majority vote in favour of changing the legislation.


  27. paul oram says:

    I tried to register today, I feel ashamed that I haven’t before, I must admit, but now to find after more than 15 years in the Netherlands, I have been disenfranchised by my home nation, and have no right to vote. I am still a UK citizen, I can’t vote in the Netherlands either, so I can’t vote anywhere! What crazy state of affairs is this? Surely a breach of my Human Rights. People, Europeans, move around, we work abroad, we marry foreigners, we live outside our birth nations, the law needs to change to recognize the free movement of citizens.

  28. Margaret Stevenson says:

    I have lived in Spain for over 11 years now but like so many other ex-Pats still pay tax in the UK as well as Spain. I think the fact that we will be denied a vote in the proposed Referendum on whether the UK should leave the EU is a clear case of discrimination. It worries me greatly that if the result is Yes then whilst the UK welcomes immigrants from other countries it will be making thousands of native born Brits stateless.

    • Dominic McGrath says:

      As far as I am aware, there is no arranged referendum, as anyway a referendum is dependent on the Conservatives being elected, so the details of whether we expats will be allowed to vote or not, will not be clear until the moment it happens.

      I imagine that any possible vote will be as usual, any British expat who is able to register and vote in a parliamentary election should get a vote, except those outside the current 15 year rule.

      The removal of the 15 year rule is anyway part of conservative manifesto, I guess for exactly that reason, if they go for a referendum they don’t want to loose it and for that they will need the ex-pat vote.

      You can’t be stateless as long as you hold British citizenship and you would anyway be eligible for Spanish citizenship if you are a long term expat in the case of a split.


  29. George Morley says:

    Gerald Agnew – If I were you I would write back to him and tell him that although his main priority is with his constituents, he has a responsibility to act for you and his reply is untrue. I did and got a reply.

  30. Michael Cushing says:

    many times said Westminster ” UK Gov” is past its sell by date . Why have so many states left the influence of the Westminster Establishment ? Issues like the Ghurkas pensions, Uk Citizens right to representation ( 15 year rules !) have made it clear to me that Westminster Establishment along with its resident hangers on ( yes men and London salaries£££) are only interested in power – running a state/s and representing its citizens is just a dream for dreamers.

    • Mike Lovering says:

      I really think the right to vote should be based on residency rather than nationality. I’ve been outside the UK for 16 years now and the previous comment really does make me feel totally alien and disconnected from UK politics and their representatives.
      I live in the Netherlands and pay my taxes here. Therefore, I should really have a vote in the Dutch general election regardless of my nationality. Decisions taken in Westminster have little bearing on my life whereas the policies made in Den Haag certainly do.

      I have written to several UK MPs and meps on our disenfranchisement but they are apparently not allowed to answer due to the fact that I am not one of their constituents. There is now the possibility of raising this in the UN HRC this year. If anyone has ever received a letter from a UK politician on this subject, please notify me.

      • Gerald Agnew says:

        I wrote to my former MP ( a Cabinet Minister to boot!) and received a reply quite quickly. It was pretty much a form letter, but I DID get a reply. If they tell you that they are not allowed to answer you, it seems to me that they really couldn’t care less. From this, one might infer that there is no interest in Westminster generally on this subject which means we are wasting our time.

      • jaboz55 says:

        This is a selfish attitude. There are many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of UK Expats who want to vote in UK General Elections and Referenda because UK government policies effect their nationality in various ways. Many of them have UK pensions, allowances and other income that are taxed at source in the UK. UK governments decide the amount of pensions,allowances and taxes that are payable. No less importantly, the promised Referendum on EU Membership could render POLITICALLY STATELESS the more than 5 million UK nationals living within the EU should the result lead to Brexit (British Exit from the EU). It can be very difficult, lengthy and expensive to qualify for and acquire the nationality of the country in which one is resident. (In some countries, nationality is only granted if one renounces one’s existing nationality. Most Expats do not wish to do that. They often live abroad for health reasons, or because their spouse is a foreigner; but most of them still have close family members and other important interests in the UK and probably visit from time to time if and when – which the more elderly and frail sometimes can’t – they can afford to do so).
        The right to vote should be linked inalienably to birth, not to one’s current place of residence, as is the case for nationality and Passport rights. Having the RIGHT to vote does not mean that one HAS to vote; but NOT HAVING the right to vote means that one CANNOT vote, even when one’s vital interests – such as pensions, taxes, nationality and political protection – are involved.

  31. Sheila FENNELL says:

    The Government say, if we do not register to vote then we are not interested in voting but how do they know what we feel (do they really care) when, for those who have been dis-enfranchised there is no where to register!!! Perhaps, if THE GOVERNMENT set up a register for all the people have already been dis-enfranchised but are still wanting to continue to vote, they will then get their numbers which show the true feelings of people who are against the15-year voting rule. There are thousands of us already dis-enfranchised just within the EU and these numbers will be increased before the next General Election, just imagine the numbers on this register within the EU let alone the rest of the world. I am proud to be British, I live within the EU (France), never thought this move would make me STATELESS; I, along with members of my family since about 1889 have works and fought for our QUEEN and Country in either the Navy, Army, Air Force and/or Police, we thought for FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY, it is sad to know how wrong we were. The UK today appears to care more about the Human Rights of criminals and illegal immigrants than Law abiding UK Citizens wherever we live. I can’t afford to go back to the UK, even if I wished to – I do not know how the UK is going to cope if we have to, because the YES/No vote goes against the EU and, most of us will then not have a choice but to return – what will the Government and the Press call us then?

    • jaboz55 says:

      If UK politicians really want to sway the debate on Europe and the promised Referendum, the best way for them to do that would be to re-enfranchise all those who have already had their vote removed by the 15 Year Rule. many thousands of willing voters would be added to the Registers overnight.
      All that is required is a One Line Bill that annuls the 15 Year Rule.. It could pass both Houses and receive Royal Assent within a week. (There is a very recent precedent for using such a procedure).
      The question is: Does Westminster – in the light of the rising political influence of UKIP – really want to give the vote to a substantial group, a majority of whose members would probably vote in favour of the UK remaining within the EU?. I suspect the Westminster answer, until the situation is beyond saving, will be ‘No’.
      Yet votes to counter UKIP and other anti-EU forces will need to be authorised and effective BEFORE the 2015 General Election. Failing that, it could be too late and the anti-EU elements in the UK – as elsewhere in Europe – could have taken control of the situation.
      As with the Scottish referendum, there is too much complacency at Westminster. Are UK politicians so inept that they can’t understand the realities of today’s politics?.
      Votes for Expats NOW may be the only policy that can save the day for Europhiles.
      Do what is necessary NOW, not next month or next year.

      • Fred says:

        I fear you are absolutely right! Then there’s all of us who fled England during the last Conservative “reign” most whom feel like refugees to this day, it doesn’t require a quantum leap of imagination to guess who we wouldn’t vote for!

  32. Helen Star says:

    My son and I live in the US and we have not taken US citizenship we are not duel citizens either. We have British passports and were both born in Edinburgh yet like every other ex pat we have no say in voting for something that directly affects us.

    • Dominic McGrath says:

      some encouraging news I received from the Conservative party today>

      Great news. Conservative Party Chairman, Grant Shapps, has today announced that a Conservative government in 2015 will abolish the 15 year rule that bans Britons from voting in the UK if you have lived abroad for more than 15 years.

      Conservatives Abroad has been campaigning within the party to repeal this restriction on overseas voters which was introduced by Labour in 2002.

      The Conservatives are now the only party to commit to allowing all expats to exercise their right to vote, no matter how long you have lived abroad.

      This is really good news but it will take a Conservative victory in 2015 to get it implemented.

      That’s why its really important that we encourage as many expats as possible to register to vote in 2015.

      You can see the full story in today’s Telegraph here

      Best wishes

      Heather Harper
      Conservatives Abroad

      • I doubt 560,000 expat frozen pensioners will be taking up your request.

      • jaboz55 says:

        To calm the current UKIP mania, both the Tories and Labour NEED the Expat vote in the 2015 General Election. After that it could be too late for them, because the potential Expat votes will still be blocked by the 15 Year Rule. That they are already saying that nothing can be done until after that Election, however, adds credibility to the perception that the proposal is merely an Election Manifesto gimmick. After all, if the Tories REALLY want to do this, they could discuss the subject with Labour (and the Lib Dems) NOW and reach an agreement – within a week – to get a Bill through Parliament before Christmas. (If that were to happen, and a reliable, simple On Line Voting System were in place, Expats could vote in next May’s General Election and in the decisive 2017 Referendum. on EU Membership

        On 2 September 2014 08:14, Votes for Expat Brits blog wrote:

        > Brian Corrigan commented: “I doubt 560,000 expat frozen pensioners > will be taking up your request.” >

      • Yes, but how serious is the impediment of it not having been in the Queen’s speech in June? Would that it had remained in November! Is there any ongoing bill the abolition of the 15 year rule could be attached to? In the past HMG seems to have had no hesitation in attaching almost unrelated matters to certain bills if it suited them.
        I note in Her Majesty’s speech “My government will continue to work to build a fairer society.” and “My government will continue its programme of political reform.” Could not the abolition of the 15-year rule be attached to one of these?
        Also I note in David Cameron’s introduction in the background briefing to the Queen’s speech “It’s centrepiece: ground-breaking pensions reform. The reforms we plan will be the biggest transformation in our pensions system since its inception, and will give people both freedom and security in retirement.” Could not this or any other thing for that matter be used to un-freeze frozen pensions?

      • Fred Carno says:

        Sorry but it will be a cold day in hell before I ever vote Conservative! I left UK to escape them during their last “reign” and along with all other Brits I know who left at that time, there are very many, view myself as a refugee to this day.

        I’ve watched from afar for thirty years as Britain flounders under the ministrations of inept government and this present one is far and away the worst, as for a promise to give us a vote? Since when did Camerons circus start keeping promises?

      • Fred Carno says:

        Since when did Camerons circus start keeping promises?

  33. George Morley says:

    So nothing to lose by including the ‘frozen pension’ policy as well Mike as it is against many agreements signed to stop all forms of discrimination of which there must be many not to mention the Charter of the Commonwealth.

  34. Dominic McGrath says:

    I would argue that statistically most British expats would most likely be Conservative, although I cannot back that up with facts. If we knew that to be the case, or indeed that Labour or some other party might be the majority, that knowledge could be used to clarify who to target to try to get things changed.

    I imagine for things to change in UK there would have to be a particular party looking to have our votes to swing things in their favour. In other words there has to be an advantage to some particular party or person for them to even bother trying. If there is no power shift by having our votes, why would they bother?

    So maybe there is some method to have our own expat online instant poll to find out the % of expats that favour particular parties. Then we use that information to get more interest from the parties. It could be it’s a dead heat then I guess we can forget any change.

    • Gerald Agnew says:

      I would vote Labour in such a poll. I believe that Labour would more likely to assist our cause by electoral campaigning on the “fairness” issue which seems to have caught on with the British public from what I read in “Justice” and the British newspapers. Tories, to be frank, couldn’t care less as they do not seem to stand for anything except staying in power and putting up with Nick Clegg!

      • Dominic McGrath says:

        Quite frankly it’s an issue that doesn’t much interest the British public in UK, so any party is not going to waste their time taking it it up as an issue unless they can get votes for it at the expense of someone else.

        Based on the amount of emails I get from various parties asking me what are the top issues that affect me, none of the parties have the issue anywhere near their to “do list” and are always fishing for popular issues to maximize their image.

        Irrespective of well intentioned individuals of all parties, it is a failing of the party political system that only “big” vote grabbing issues will be scheduled for parliamentary discussion.

        Perhaps we should redesign our hypothetical pole, such that as well as asking preferred party to ask “As an expat would you change your natural voting bias towards the party best promoting expat voting rights”. If there are a lot of yes’s it might become higher on the list of possible vote grabbing issues for all parties.

      • Mike Lovering says:

        I have had several sympathetic emails and messages from various MPs but most of them are clearly not interested.

        In my opinion, the only way to get the right to vote for Expats is to go through the United Nations human rights council. I have a lawyer in NYC who has promised to raise the issue next spring. The right to vote is a fundamental Human Right and it’s being denied.

    • Fred Carno says:

      Why on earth would most British ex pats vote conservative? We left in our droves to escape them during their last “reign”! The fact is that the fifteen year rule is to eliminate us because we most certainly would never vote Conservative, Ukip or anti EU…

      • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

        Unfortunately the Labour party for some reason seems to believe that most British expats would vote Conservative (given the chance) and hence its opposition to removing the 15-year-limit!


      • Fred Carno says:

        Well they’d be wrong then although I’m quite certain we wouldn’t all vote Labour either there would however be many who’d vote for parties Labour could do business with and in todays political arena it seems acutely necessary to have a coalition to hinder government despotism although sadly it has to be said the Liberals have not performed their task to well in the present government but they have none the less undoubtedly been far better than no balance at all!

      • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

        Agreed and you could be right that the trend is likely to be towards more coalition government in the UK. This is not necessarily a bad thing as it also seems to work well on the Continent with Germany a successful social democratic example.


      • My experience of living a large part of the last 55 years in expat communities in many parts of the world suggests there are as many shades of political opinion in them as there are people. No single party can rely on an electoral bonanza from scrapping the 15 year rule – but thank heavens the Conservatives you despise so much have undertaken to do it.

      • Dominic McGrath says:

        Actually it was Labour that came up with the limiting of the EX-PAT vote and conservative that have been trying to raise/abolish it ever since. We shouldn’t get too political about the right to vote but it is only the conservatives that are even talking about abolishing the 15 year rule. They even go as far as saying they would abolish it, even if it was not to their numerical advantage, as it is the right thing to do. Whether we believe them or not is irrelevant anyway, until the number of registered overseas voters increases. Of the millions of potential voters, currently less than 20,000 actually voted.

        It is now possible for those who are eligible to vote to do so online, in a simple manner. i understand that if people who could actually vote did and we reached say 100,000, there is talk that there would be case for a further step to push for a dedicated MP for expat affairs.

        So those who can should register and more importantly VOTE!:

      • Fred Carno says:

        Well I for one can’t see why they wouldn’t rescind the fifteen year rule now if that’s indeed what they intend to do they don’t seem to balk at making sweeping, far reaching changes to other aspects of society and it’s infrastructure or indeed the democratic process if their repeated gerrymandering is to taken as indicative. Why wait until they get re-elected, which they may well not, to give us our voting rights?

      • This debate is about restoring our democratic right to vote. In this context it is irritating to have to read Fred Carno’s constant, irrelevant anti-Conservative nonsense.

      • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

        In a democracy the governing party/parties need a majority to rescind the 15-year-rule but, as I understand it, such a majority sufficient to overcome labour opposition cannot be agreed within the Coalition.


      • Fred Carno says:

        So sorry to peeve you Mr Courtney-Green however in my opinion my last comment is neither anti or pro Conservative I am simply questioning why an important thing such as our democratic rights must wait until after an election when a simple vote in the house could change the situation immediately as it has done for far more broad reaching implementations during this term of government! I would ask the same question irrespective of which party were in power in this case it just happens to be the Conservatives and my observations where regarding their actions in England during their present term of government are perfectly accurate if you choose to interpret them as anti conservative that is your prerogative it does however not make them any the less accurate or out of context with the debate on this forum and further more my comments are hardly to be considered constant given that I have made but three and perhaps only the first could be considered anti conservative but yet again it is quite simply stating a fact that was the case during that period of time so I would be most grateful if you could refrain from lowering the tone of the debate with accusations of “irrelevance and nonsense” which to my mind are far to close to the public school boyish braggadocio utterances of Westminster and most certainly have no place in a mature constructive dialog or debate. 😉

      • Fred Carno (in reply to your earlier lecture): Please accept my unreserved apology – I read these blogs about the Conservatives driving you to emigrate, lying through their teeth, gerrymandering, destroying the NHS (not one of yours) etc and somehow I completely miss the intended irony. I’ll try to sharpen up.

  35. DIANA GRAYLAND says:

    OK, so is anyone going to put forward a plan of action? Who should we write to in the first place? The PM’s office seems to be a dead end, and I honestly don’t know where to begin, having lived in Spain for the past 30 years, If someone has a plan, it would be good to hear it and to start coordinated action. A pro-European MP? Is it worth doing anything at all yet, until after the General Election, or would that be leaving it too late?

    • jaboz55 says:

      I have consistently advocated the setting up of a UK-based powerful lobby and publicity group. Anything based abroad is unlikely to make a significant impact upon UK public opinion.
      We have to recognise that a large percentage – probably 60% – of the resident UK population supports the Parliamentary attitude of alienating, (and withdrawing all forms of support from), Expats That is why most UK politicians, in all the political Parties, feel safe to ignore us and our natural national rights. The process of changing that attitude must therefore begin in the UK itself. Hence, we need to recruit some powerful Captains of Industry – who understand the immense but politically undervalued economic value to the UK of Britons living abroad – plus a few genuinely stellar Celebrities to speak out publicly on our behalf. That would need funding, of course, so we must also.persuade a wealthy donor or three to finance the lobbying and publicity campaigns.
      Easier said than done, I recognise, but it seems to be the best way forward.

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      The main problem for our campaign is that even those with less than 15 years away from the UK do not seem that motivated to register and then vote i.e historically only some 20,000 – 30,000 registered out of an estimated 2 million or so still qualified British citizens from a total of 4 to 5 million living abroad. Feedback from our lobbying efforts is that this has not helped our cause to convince the political establishment otherwise that removing the 15-year-limit would make much difference.
      However, to date our campaign has involved failed legal challenges in the ECHR and the British High Courts as well as writing to the appropriate minister responsible for constitutional change within the cabinet office. This has finally resulted in a Cross-Party Inquiry into Overseas Voting and a recommended target set to secure up to 100,000 registered overseas voters at the next general election in 2015. In support of this the registration process has now been simplified and made more convenient via an on-line option as well as extending the postal voting cycle from 17 to 25 days before election day.
      The challenge remains to “find” these missing qualified British citizens living overseas and to convince them to register. The Electoral Commission discovered this with their on-line communications campaign before the last European and local elections which met with very little response. Perhaps the higher visibility of a general election will encourage a better response in 2015.


  36. Dominic McGrath says:

    I believe that absolutely nothing will change with the scandalous expat voting situation until the current registration system is scrapped completely.

    This would be my simple dream manifesto message aimed all expat voters,

    1. Everyone over the age of 18 who holds a British passport and who was born in the UK will be allowed to vote in parliamentary elections.
    2. Voting will be possible via electronic means at website, where after completing registration and security checks, your vote can be cast by simply providing your passport number.
    3. Voting will also be possible in person at any British embassy or consulate anywhere in the world by presenting the passport.
    4. Voting for persons not resident in UK, will no longer be for a particular UK constituency but for a number of newly formed virtual constituencies.
    5. The number of virtual constituencies will be in proportion to the calculated number of non UK residents otherwise eligible to vote.
    6. Candidates for the virtual constituencies would normally be expected to have particular understanding about the issues of non resident voters or indeed be normally non resident themselves.

    Plain and simple, am I missing something?

    • jaboz55 says:

      What you are missing, perhaps, is that the UK ‘body politic’ wants to disengage completely from Expats. It has no intention of providing Parliamentary representation for them, let alone cancel the 15 Year Rule. Instead, it wants them – as Nick Clegg put it – to renounce their UK nationality and become foreigners. It’s policies are all tending that way. The Opposition supports that attitude, so a change of government is unlikely to alter anything.

      • Has Nick Clegg’s wife renounced her nationality and become a foreigner?

      • jaboz55 says:

        Of course not! He’s a politician and so applies different principles – or the lack of them – when he or his family might be affected!.That doesn’t help Expats however. What they need is a powerful, effective lobby of sympathisers in the UK. The general public there, however, are apathetic about Expats, or else agree with the politicians that the country would be better off without its them. That is why Parliament shews no interest in abolishing the 15 Year Rule, even though the EU has warned that the UK is in serious breach of fundamental democratic principles and the EU’s own anti-discrimination rules.

  37. William atherton says:

    I wonder when it will happen or if it will happeni

  38. I have just seen that the Electoral Commission’s site says “Those who were too young to register when they left the UK can still register as an overseas voter as long as their parent or guardian was registered to vote in the UK in the last 15 years.” – this is totally ridiculous – why should an adult UK citizen’s voting rights depend on whether their parent or guardian had registered as a UK voter during the previous 15 years? Is this even true or is something they’ve invented?

  39. Barbara Jean Clark says:

    I want to flag up a concern I have regarding the possible result of the promised referendum about the UK staying in or leaving the European Union. Surely as ex-patriates we should have a say, a right to vote in any referendum on such an issue as this, even if we cannot get them to give us the right to vote in other elections. I live in Turkey and have been here 15 years, so have now lost the right to vote in elections. Turkey, while not an EU member has some sort of associate membership and also a long standing application in to join. I personally want to retain my rights as an EU citizen as well as a British citizen living here. I think this would be even more of an issue for many UK ex-pats living in EU countries. I sent an email to the prime minister’s office about this 2 or 3 months ago and have received no reply. My concern is compounded by David Cameron’s seeming indifference to the outcome of the Scottish independence referendum – I’m not Scottish, but, unless I’ve misunderstood, it looks like you have to be a resident of Scotland to have a say (even if you are not Scottish). How about Scots living elsewhere in the UK or abroad? If he and his colleagues apply the same logic to an EU referendum, we will all have to rely on the people living in the UK to decide our future status as Europeans.

    • J. A. Bosworth says:

      The Government, with the support of the Opposition, is already applying that logic to the EU Referendum. As things stand at the moment, if you lose your UK vote, you also lose your EU vote unless you have dual nationality in your country of residence. I live in Switzerland.– which is not part of the EU — so losing my UK vote means that, although I remain an EU citizen by virtue of my British nationality, I cannot vote in the EU Election.

      • nickiwi says:

        This situation is obviously a concern for EU citizens being denied the vote in EP elections if they live outside the EU. Same for the Danes and many others such as Maltese and Cypriots.
        This is where the EP should really shake things up. It is a totally unacceptable situation, as are many others created by our undemocratic governments.

  40. Michael Cushing says:

    Harry Shindler case failure at ECHR . So as I have already said in previous ramblings NO Country, State , Government HAS to abide by a rulling of the ECHR . Therfore a case that is a direct challenge to a States DEMOCRATIC* laws is infact doomed to failure in the process at the ECHR . Untill there is a UNITED STATES OF EUROPE the LOSS OF REPRESENTATION = LOSS OF IDENTITY ( EU / UN protocol ) cannot intervene LAWFULLY . The simple question is If you lose your right to representation as a Citizen then you have no ties to that country / state . YOU ARE STATELESS . For UK Citizens it might be relevent to apply for POLITICAL ASYLUM ( presumably this would not embarasse the WESTMINSTER ESTABLISHMENT ) Unfortunately I am a CITIZEN of 2 EU countries neither gives the right to Representation when overseas . * Before a country becomes Democratic what is it . IT IS CLEAR THAT THE UK IS NOT A DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY .

    • J. A. Bosworth says:

      I think that the various Expat Associations should submit an urgent Petition to the EU Parliament asking for an early debate and ruling on this blatant challenge to its authority and the principle of universal adult franchise.

      • I absolutely agree. I shall be raising this at a Bureau meeting of the Europeans throughout the World here in Brussels tomorrow and at our next General Assembly in November.
        I also “naïvely” wonder what use a direct letter to Her Majesty the Queen might be – if it were allowed to get through the no doubt substantial filters.

  41. Michael Cushing says:

    Fundermental Democratic Right is the UN / ECHR definition Citizens LOSS of Representation = LOSS OF IDENTITY simple !!! see my other ramblingsplease

  42. Jeremy Earle says:

    I believe that the criteria that should be applied for expats to be enabled to vote in UK elections should be based upon individual domicile. Current residential status is not relevant any more than being a UK passport holder. Few expats ever change their domicile as it involves severing all ties with the UK.

    • nickiwi says:

      Why link to domicile, generally interpreted as TAX domicile. Many expatriate UK Citizens both live abroad AND are domiciled abroad. This is a matter of a fundamental democratic right of citizens to be able to participate in the democratic life of their country, wheresoever they happen to live in the world, wherever they are domiciled.

  43. Michael Cushing says:

    Reply to J.A.Bosworth 1 Sept blog ( this site gives me reply options in wrong listings,) Notwithstanding my early issues re your statement If one pays UK taxes as an expat and loose the right to representation ( one does not pay UK taxes as an expat – see my aforsaid exceptions ) I AGREE with you re UK GOV . perceptions of expats . I agree with Stuart Smith as well . During recent history ( 300 years ) Westminster Government representing Ireland, Scotland, England , Wales , Commonwealth Countries has done exactly the same to most of these jurisdictions and its Citizens – TOTAL IGNORENCE to the truth and non respect of human rights – in a civil / democratic format . Thats why many Commonwealth countries / Ireland ( Eire) demanded / achieved INDEPENDENCE . Why is it that UK MP’s seem to loose the notion that they are elected by the people TO REPRESENT THEM when in Westminster . How come the Westminster Establishment does’nt seem to change come what may in its attitude to its citizens . Unless something is done pretty soon to stop this there can be only one outcome – the fall of the ‘ British Empire’ similar to the fall of the Roman Empire . – AT LEAST APPLY TO VOTE as Under 15 year EXPATS and as OVER 15 year EXILES and be refused like me !

  44. Stuart Smith says:

    I find that the British Governments behaviour toward all Expats, whether they are tax payers in the UK of not is totally disgraceful, deceitful & dubious. The dispicaple excuse and comment from this Governments Deputy Prime Minister that we should take the Nationality of the country that we are residing in, so as we can get a vote in that country and not our homeland is to say the least nauseating! To make matters more insulting he has a lifelong right to vote, in all Spanish elections and referenda because his wife is Spanish! Yet, he and his wife can vote in all of our homelands elections and referenda as well. Now that is what you call ‘Double standards’
    It is attitudes like this that the Government of the day seem to be holding and putting forward that are so Insulting to all of us Expats, no matter where we are living in this world.
    But it is not just this Government that treats us with utter contempt either.
    Yet they wonder why so many Expats that have not yet lost their precious vote, do not cast their votes! The system is so stacked against them that it is vertually impossible to get any vote back to the UK in time for it to be counted. The most recent proposed change to this state is to give more time for the returning votes to be received, up to 25 days has been suggested but I cannot confirm this.

  45. Michael Cushing says:

    What is the diference between a government who decide to use its troops against its citizens ( current events numbers unknown ) and a government who debates and continuously decides ( this covers ALL PARTIES in UK ) to disenfranchise 5.5 million citizens . ECHR concured the internationaly agreed definition of Citizen and Right to Representation Human Rights :. To be disenfranchised as a Citizen from the Right of Representation is DEFINED AS LOSS OF IDENTITY . The Harry Shindler appeal ECHR – the ECHR will have to address this fact as it is already at difference to its own définitions . For Europeans the ECHR is the only pratical recorse to a Government / Citizen issue and the truth is that for most EU citizens – UK citizens resident / non resident .have been PROTECTED from excesses of Party Political led ie majority party Government décisions that have been implemented solely to win a future election . . Those with no vote / minorities etc know where they stand .

  46. Michael Lovering says:

    There are MPs and some Human Rights activists who are very interested. It is important to write to the ignorant Tory ministers of justice, and home office ministers. The Labour Party is now taking this on board and I know the Labour front bench is being consulted due to the fact that millions of Brits are being denied a basic human right. The LibDems should also be concerned but as yet show little interest in responding.

    Personally, having lived outside the UK for over 15 years, I have no preference where I vote. I do not pay any taxes in the UK and hardly ever visit the country. I live in another EU country and pay a lot of taxes here but cannot vote for their government either. Approximately 6.5 million mobile EU workers are not allowed to vote where they pay their taxes. This is a breach of human rights. The European Court of Human Rights is not interested which is why US lawyers will raise this (our) complaint at the UN next year. If the UK government doesn’t act beforehand, it will be an interesting story the Chinese and Saudis can slap Cameron with when he dares to raise their human rights issues – Saudi women can vote; 5 millions Brits cannot.

    Please sign:

    • Michael Cushing says:

      please see my other blogs . – at least you don’t bleat I pay UK taxes therefor one has the right to vote like a lot of other ill- informed expats !!! The European voting issue as you say leaves millions of EU citizens without a vote at national élections – UK and Ireland ( not the case for many in other EU states ) exclude their nationals / citizens when overseas which being a minority issue in EU Parliament will take a liong time yet to get an EU treaty giving voting rights like the rights of nationals / citizens in the country of residence,With fiscal unity coming ( slowly !!) in EU voting rights I am sure will follow . ECHR / Parliament are well aware of the issue . Interesting re USA raising issue at UN have you seen the blogs Google loss of right to vote comments – many from USA are amaized that UK disenfranchises its citizens . .

  47. Stuart Smith says:

    I’m one of the over 15 year camp.

    If we could get our rightful vote back and electronic voting was made available to the Expats.
    Then it would be possible to turn the expat vote into a useful addition to the UK as a whole.
    Lets face it, we are having a hard time getting any of the three main parties interested in overturning the 15 year rule at all!
    Clegg is a ‘no go’, Labour would not risk it as they know that 60% of expats or more would vote Conservative & the Tories, well Cameron is to weak and wouldn’t even try to push it through!
    Then having to rely on the last electoral roll address in the UK is a no no!
    It has to be through the Embassies or Consulates of the country we live in, that we would need to be registered.
    At the moment if you are registered to vote in the UK, half the time no one gets the papers.
    Or they arrive to late or they cannot be returned in time to be counted or used as a proxy vote in the UK!
    That is one of the most complained about items, that is why nearly all the expats do not bother to register for the UK vote!
    Another complaint from me this time.
    Is the lack of information of who we can contact within the UK, when you are over 15 years away.
    You get push here there and everywhere, yet never get anyone whom can help you.
    “Who do I contact over this 15 year rule in the UK?
    My local MP was Labour when I left the UK & now it is a Liberal in the seat, I’m a Conservative.
    Yet all of them do not want to know you, as you do not have a valid vote!!
    We really do need at least one MP who can represent us in Parliament, obviously 3x MP’s or more would be better.
    There are many more than 5.5 million expats out there, some say as many as 12 to 15 million.
    Even the British Government cannot give us a true figure.
    I have three more here in my area who are very interested in getting their voting rights back.

    But, after all we deserve our rights to be given back to us, that means our votes in all elections & referendums no matter where we live on this earth.
    It is about time that our history concerning ‘The Magna Carter and the English Bill of Rights’ was taught in all schools and was a compulsory act for all Members of the Houses of Parliament to have learnt, before they can take their seats in the said Parliament.
    When foreign students know more about our ‘Bill of rights & the Magna Carter’ than our own politicians do. We in the UK have a big, big problem!!

    This site: We appreciate what all of you are trying to do for the expats and their rights to vote.

    • I am also over 15 years away and also believe we should have a system of representation that does not depend on our last constituency, BUT I must say I found the Member for the last constituency I lived in extremely open and helpful, though also extremely busy – as I have found are most MPs and Members of the Lords I have met.
      By no means all are disinterested if one cannot even vote for them.
      Nonetheless there are party lines that often interfere, as well as members speaking along those lines, sometimes with the most ridiculous arguments, even though we know their sympathies and experience are really with us.
      Hence the need to convince some heavy hitters who will dare to get party lines moved.
      On Magna Carta – is it even mentioned in schools today? I thought the teaching of history was discontinued so long ago that there was hardly anyone left with the knowledge to teach it. And as for the notion of “citizenship”!
      Or am I being too pessimistic?

      • Stuart Smith says:

        Thank you for your comments, maybe I was unfortunate with my last electoral area.
        I truly hope you are being pessimistic as a land without hope, dreams or goals is surely a land lost for a long, long time.
        Maybe I’m being too optomistic over Great Britain, I sincerly hope not otherwise we lost a lot of good people for nothing over the years.
        But, I do stand by my statement over the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights. A paragraph of which I have include:

        “The Bill of Rights states that the crown, both houses of parliament and the people are parts of a single entity, and abolition of the structure and responsibility of crown and parliament in part or whole is illegal. As the Declaration of Rights 1688 and Magna Carta 1215 declare our freedoms to be self-evident that exist by right and are permanent.”

        I find our history must be taught to all who live in Great Britain or how will we ever find out when things go wrong in our country what possibly caused it. It is our lives that we live now that will become the history for the future generations. As you said history does not seemed to be taught in our schools in todays world. That I feel is one big, big mistake by all Governments and should be reassessed forthwith, as without history you are a non entity & have no worth to anyone.
        That, I find is unacceptable in any shape or form. Great Britain gave the world so much, yet they are allowing all that we did give, to be forgotten!

        On that note I will close,

    • Michael Cushing says:

      There is no point in having a MP / MPs to represent overseas voters unless all overseas UK citizens have the right to vote for these MPs – this would be blatent discrimination that of course Westminster is keen to avoid – damage limitation . See my other comments please.

      • Stuart Smith says:

        Micheal Cushing.

        Surely that is what this whole campaign is all about, getting all expats their votes back.
        My idea is that the offering of a solution to the problems that face expats, whilst they are still within the 15 year rule period. This can in itself help our claim for full voting rights to be reinstated to all expats wherever we live in this world.
        As for an MP or more to look after expats and their rights it will be a must when we do get the votes back.
        We the expats must put our proposals out into the area of Parliament in whatever form or means that is lawful. This can only be to our advantage to suggest ways and means to overcome problems that are bound to crop up.
        You cannot wonder that many expats do not register to vote, when for one reason or another they cannot get their votes back to the UK on time to be COUNTED.
        If you do not put ideas out there, the Government of the day is bound to think that no one is interested in getting their votes back and decided to scupper our claims and rights again. If at first you do not suceed try and try again and NEVER give up, ever!!

  48. Stuart Smith says:

    The expats I know are the most pro British people you could meet. Yet after 15 years we are dumped as useless and forgotten about! WHY? We are a better advert for Britain than the people living in GB. The Government lean over backwards to give immigrants legal or otherwise everything for nothing. They get housing and benefits to pay for it, normally free NHS access, handfuls of forms and advise of how to claim more cash and legal aid when they are disputing a decision that they dislike and to really rub salt into the wounds, full voting rights in all elections & referendums. Yet when you get down to the truth, at least 50% of them hate the British and what we stand for, freedom, self determination and free choice, honesty and fairness to all. So if that is the case where people can enter Great Britain and are only there to grab our benefits and cash and half the time do not pay taxes at all and more than likely to break the laws of the land. What does our Government do? Absolutely NOTHING!!! They do nothing at all, yet these people are costing our country billions of pounds every year.We the expats (about 5 million of us) cost the UK virtually nothing. we do not claim benefits or cash handouts or claim legal aid, nor do we use the NHS at all. All our medical requirements we have to pay for ourselves. We have to pay taxes in the land where we live and in some cases the UK too. Yet the Government of the day and all previous one since Thatcher brought in the 15 year rule, have continued to do nothing to redress this most foul of vindictiveness in law.Because most of us expats still hold our British nationality as well as our British passports, yet we are denied the right to vote in any of the UK’s elections or referendums at all and where we live we do not always get the right to vote in any elections except the local one. I personally served my Queen for almost 12 years from the age of 15 years & 2 months in the RN. Then when I left the Navy I worked in the Water treatment for another 15 + years in many countries around the world. I was made redundant in 1984 there wasn’t any work around at all, I made over 350 applications for employment and received 3 answers, two positions filled & the third one I was to old, 43 years and 6 months and I was to old!! I moved over to the Netherlands where my girlfriend lived and started from scratch again. I worked hard and long hours to try to get back some dignity into my life. After 6 years my girlfriend & I split up. So I had to find a place to live, rents were to high and it turned out to be cheaper to buy a house. So at 48 years old, I asked for a mortgage and much to my surprise I received one without any trouble at all! Okay, it is an old house I know, but, it is mine well almost. I can vote in local council and EU elections but nothing else at all. I never got any help at all and the officialdom was to say the least daunting. Not like the UK where a non British, non English speaking person gets it all for free. where is the justice in that? Our voting rights are taken away from us and we have no rights for appeals or a judicial judgement on our lost rights. That is not justice in any shape or form and the British Government of the day should reinstate those rights now, 100% fully reinstated. Additionally, the expats world wide should automatically be included in all elections and referendums within the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Nortern Ireland.As I stated at the start of this ‘short’ comment! We are the very best of British, the best advertisements for what is British. We get on with life even when hit by adversity, as they say. We pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start again, above all we are BRITISH and shall be as long as we live. We deserve our right to vote in all elections and referendums held in the UK of GB & NI and we deserve it now and forevermore without exception. So please Mr Cameron, except our rights & reinstate them NOW!!

  49. John Adams says:

    We are forced to pay tax on our pensions to the UK authorities, and feel that our basic rights are being infringed by having no representation, no voice in public affairs in the UK. The 15-year rule is arbitrary and pointless.
    Country of residence: France

    • ben lenthall says:

      Absolutely. The answer from the authorities seems to be – if you want to live abroad, forget your roots, become a citizen of that country and vote there.
      I live in France, but I don’t want to be French – I’m British and proud to be so. Why should I have to change my nationality in order to be enfranchised? By all means give me the choice to be French if you must and then take away my UK vote – but if I decide to remain British and care about my country, I should have that right. Never more so than when our very membership of the Club of nations which allows us to be in Europe is being called into question. If it affects me directly and it does – I demand the right to be represented.

      • Michael Cushing says:

        see my other comments – at least apply to register and be refused in writing to your last UK Electoral Registration officer – a Crown Agent . you might start thinking again about being British !!!

    • Michael Cushing says:

      You are NOT AN EXPAT UK RESIDENT IN FRANCE if you pay UK taxes . You must pay taxes ( ie registered to pay ) ON YOUR GLOBAL INCOME where you are resident – normal worldwide double taxation treaties explain this . Generally the ONLY tax in your case to be paid to UK is taxes on UK property income and Ex government WORK pensions NOT STATE / PRIVATE pensions and all other income . see my other comments.

  50. Peter says:

    After more than 30 years outside UK I decided to do a postal vote on the last general election.. I was informed that I could not vote because of the 15 year rule unless I came from South East Asia. They have an exceptional rule but I was refused further Information .??? Does anybody know details of this I found it strange.

    A few weeks ago I heard that the the vote was carried by a 60 % postal
    vote in a local election for the labour party in an area with a large South East Asian population. with almost no postal vote for other parties.
    What is going on ?

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      Thank you for your comment, Peter.

      This is why the current voter registration system whereby the householder is responsible by law for registering all members of his/her household on the electoral roll, is being replaced by a system of Individual Electoral Registration (IER). IER by the actual individual voter concerned is considered less open to the fraudulent type of householder registration for postal voting to which you refer, eg of British citizens from their household with roots in South East Asia but who have moved back there permanently.


      • Peter says:

        I was informed that people from (I am not sure what from defines in this case) south east Asia are not subject to the 15 year rule as I am (born in England with English parents) is that correct ? If so do you know for what reason?

        Many thanks

      • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

        All British citizens unless employed overseas in British government service or in the armed forces, are subject to the 15-year-rule. Commonwealth citizens (including from South East Asia) if resident in the UK have the right to vote in British local and national elections as do resident British citizens of South East Asian origin. However, after 15 years non-resident such British citizens of South East Asian origin, whether born in the UK or not, lose this national right to vote.


  51. Gerald Agnew says:

    I agree with the idea of electing a member for Westminster. (Should I stand as a Labour candidate?). However, this having been said, be careful what you wish for. If you elect many MPs (given the huge number of expats) would the sitting government say something like “Fine! You can vote therefore you pay taxes to the Exchequer. Why are you different from anybody else”/

    I live in Canada and am retired.

    • J. A. Bosworth says:

      Most expatriate pensioners already pay tax to the UK Exchequer.

      • Michael Cushing says:

        If you are expat ie resident in another country you should have registered your residency there and by inference be paying your global income taxes there – generally excepting income from property, government employée WORK pensions NOT STATE PENSIONS ( YOU HAVE NO CHOICE ) Many brits seem to think especialy àn mainland Europe that you can choose or exclude yourself ;These folk will find in time that as legally non resident capital gains on property sales will be incurred along with possibility of a tax investigation which meens sale proceeds will be blocked no doubt for years while you try and argue !! Payment to the ‘wrong’ tax authority in Europe does not give you your double taxation rights!!

      • J. A. Bosworth says:

        The point I was making is that the State pension is taxed at source in the UK, so there is no option about where to pay it. Since that money contributes to services — NHS, Housing, Welfare, etc — which are not available to expats, it indicates a qualifying link with the UK for voting in UK national elections.

      • Brian Corrigan says:

        Your UK sate pension is not taxed at source.

      • Michael Cushing says:

        see Brian Corrigans reply as well YOU SHOULD NOT BE PAYING TAX ON STATE PENSION TO THE UK IF TRULY NON RESIDENT – apply for double taxation relief form – this will be then verified by your local tax office IN YOUR COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE then UK will not tax at source – paying tax to the “wrong” country if you dont’t follow this procedure COULD leave you with my previous comments problems capital gains /:tax inquiry etc

      • J. A. Bosworth says:

        Even if you were to do that — which is difficult because tax is deducted BEFORE the pension is paid — you would effectively be renouncing your own nationality. That would allow the government to say that you don’t have the right to vote in UK elections because you contribute nothing to the country. Since the campaign is intended to get lifetime voting rights for British nationals, (no matter where they live, nor the period that they are abroad),your suggestion would have the opposite effect.

      • Michael Cushing says:

        PLEASE PLEASE CHECK FIRST NOT ASSUME you are totaly wrong , tax is nothing to do with nationality . Apply for double taxation relief IS NOT DIFFICULT . YOU ARE NOT AN EXPAT UK IF YOU PAY UK TAX !!! If I was you I would stop blogging as the tax authorities love people like you – sorry to be blunt

      • J. A. Bosworth says:

        It’s perceptions that matter and the government perceives tax-payers as expatriates if they no longer live in the UK. I’m one of them and I know that’s the case. Parliament even refers to us as expatriates and seems to assume that we’re ex-patriots and therefore not worthy of its attention. If we’re not expatriates, why can’t we vote in national — not local — elections and referenda?. The EU says that is unfair discrimination and undemocratic. We agree.

    • Robin says:

      Fair enough Gerald BUT anyone who has a government pension or a local government pension pays tax in the UK – also all property income from the UK is taxed already in the UK but we have no vote. Colonies have been lost for less!

      • Michael Cushing says:

        YOU ARE COMPLETELY WRONG please accept mine and other expats comments . Yes if you do not apply for double taxation relief to IR UK they order Works and Pensions to deduct tax at source on State OLD AGE Pensions / private pensions and many other UK incomes .( this as aforsaid comments is not about State employee WORKS pensions which are taxed at source Under the tax treaties between about 200+ countries world wide ) You have NO CHOICE WHERE YOU ARE FISCALLY TAX RESIDENT =- COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE not nationality, not where youre income comes from – simplisticaly there is a check list ( Under Tax Treaties ) = No1 Country of PRINCIPAL RESIDENCE … the checklist continues down untill you andANY tax authority agree where you are accepted as Normally Tax Resident see web .gov. UK / . gov / example . For most the sanction of CAPITAL GAINS on a non principal property sale procedes is enough to deter you from making the wrong choice . I am trying to be helpfull

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      Thank you for your interesting comment on the possible tax consequences of electing a member(or members) for Westminster to represent British expats. The British government’s response up till now has been that continuing to be taxed (eg on a public sector pension even when living overseas), is not necessarily related to having the right to vote in UK national elections, since some non-British citizens resident and paying taxes in the UK also do not have the right to vote. Many citizens in the UK on low incomes again effectively pay no tax but certainly retain the right to vote. Oddly enough and for historical reasons presumably, others from some Commonwealth countries and citizens of the Irish Republic can also vote if resident in the UK but not non-resident British citizens after 15 years abroad. Certainly in France where 11 MPs are elected to represent their expats, this does not impact their zero tax status but who knows what might happen tax-wise as the UK is not known for taking a lead from France!


  52. Leigh Franks says:

    I think I have a valid point: You NEED to be a citizen of the United Kingdom to vote in the UK right? Well when this is bestowed upon people born overseas who take up British Citizenship, they may vote in General Elections etc on acquisition of citizenship. WHAT HAVE THEY BEEN DOING FOR THE LAST 15 YEARS? Surely an established British Citizen should be able to vote in abstentia no matter where they live overseas or for how long. If being away from the UK for 15 years removes the right to vote, then newly nationalised people should then wait 15 year to earn the right. No, that’s not fair, is it?

  53. Michael Lovering says:

    I can only echo the above comment. Please sign and get others to sign the current petition to allow us our democratic right. Women were given the right to vote 95 years ago but we do not have ours.


  54. J. Crowle says:

    I have lived in Italy for 30 years and so have not been able to vote anywhere for 15 years! I feel particulary badly treated because 2nd generation Italians who have lived their whole lives abroad, anywhere in the world, and only have ancestral ties with Italy, are allowed to vote in all Italian elections. Now the radical party in Italy is canvassing to allow convicted criminals to vote in Italian elections, too.
    Obviously, since I own property in Italy, have married an Italian and have paid my taxes in Italy for 30 years, I would prefer to vote in Italy while resident here, but I do not wish to take Italian citizenship, if this would mean losing my British citizenship.
    I therefore believe that Britain should follow the example of many countries in the world that allow people to have dual citizenship if they have lived a certain number of years abroad. This would allow people to choose the country in which they wish to have voting rights. Failing that, at least give us the right to vote somewhere!

  55. Ian Coombes says:

    I have been a non resident of the UK since 1994. Needless to say, my inability to vote in the last elections held there, and it being the only time when mymight have counted for something, has left me feeling totally disenfranchised. I hope I still have a few more years left in me. I having worked for one particular UK party here in Spain, for for the last twelve years, I would like to see and end to the 15yr rule as soon as possible.

  56. Janet moore says:

    J Moore – France
    Perhaps it should be noted that many people residing outside the UK have spent many years working for the UK in the form of Military or Government service. These people have no choice but to pay their taxes in the UK, as well as in many cases these monies being taken into account by the country in which they reside, to assess the tax they have to pay to that country. A simpler system of voting might help, say to vote for a party in stead of a person. In many cases it is makde impossible to postal vote, as paperwork does not get through in time for it to be returned and not everyone wishes to allow someone else to vote on their behalf.
    I hope your appeal is successful.

    • Michael Cushing says:

      As an EXILE ( over 15 year rule ) I have been refused by the Electoral Registrar at my last Electoral UK office for inclusion on overseas voting register ( 2011 ) . ALL EXPATS AND EXILES SHOULD APPLY TO VOTE REGARDLESS . Your comments as a presumed EXPAT on the overseas voting register should be forwarded to the Electoral Commision in fiest instance , and to the Harry Shindler Representative for the ECHR appeal . If you look up the Representation of the Peoples Act 1985 ( ALL UK seperate Jurisdictions ) – modified Rof P Act 2000 General UK Act ( with all UK Juisdictions ) you will see that it is a very serious offence to meddle with your voting procedure rights . You will note that the latter Act still has 20year rule . The Political Parties Election Referendoms 2000 General UK Act – All jurisdictions included ( on page 141 of 150 part X MISCELLANEOUS and GENERAL ” AMEND 20 years to 15 years ‘ THATS IT – SO CHAPS – presumed UK Expats / Exiles you now know how important you are to the Westminster Establishment !! s

  57. Adam Bunting says:

    I have just joined this blog. Thank you to everyone for your efforts.

    Like many of you, I am on a government pension, and will lose my right to vote in British elections in 2019. Meanwhile I will cast my vote for any party that promises to abolish these ridiculous rules. Um – does anyone know of one?

  58. Mavis Secrett says:

    I am wondering how many other countries deprive their citizens of the right to vote. I do know that Italians in the very small French town where I live were offered a very simple facility to vote in that country’s election. What is Britain and in particular, Nick Clegg, afraid of?

  59. Michael Cushing says:

    I do not understand the issue of paying UK tax by many; surely if you are a NON UK resident you pay taxes in the country of principal residence regardless of where youre income originates ( most countries follow this simple test ) Income from a property NOT in your country of principal residence is taxable solely in the country where the property is ??? The issue for me on voting rights is not a matter of representation on tax it is the right to vote by youre identity ; no vote = no identity ( EHRC) This is a very serious issue and highlights the total failure of in this case UK Gov.
    In 2011 I requested to be included as an overseas voter at my last registration office in this case Perth Scotland . I was refused under the 15 year rule . I indicated that as the 15 year rule is not in the Representation of the Peoples Act Scotland the original RoPA 1985 ( no time limit ) 1989 ( 20 year time limit ) is relevent and therefor the refusal is unlawful = disenfranchisement . I therefor sent copies of the refusal to be included in the voting role ( including the English Crown Office Electoral officers lengthy legal explanation on his discission) to my last constituent MP ( Westminster ), MSP ( Hollyrood Edinburgh and European MP Brussels . TO DATE I HAVE RECEIVED NO REPLY !!!!! I believe that the issue is such a hot potato no politician wants to get involved with independence referendums and now as promised by DC UK referendum on staying in Europe . I believe that the EU actualy restricts excesses of national parliaments more so with the EURO problem and that is why the LONDON ESTABLISHMENT wants to be as it is out of control and out of EU . The ONLY way out of the UK economic problem will be a serious devaluation of the UK Pound with massive inflation in otherwords normal folk will pay hard for the LONDON ESTABLISHMENT . I have never understood why folk in England celebrate GuyFawkes night ( after all he failed ) !!!!!!!!!!!

    • Jaboz says:

      Many expats are UK pensioners whose income is taxed at source, by the UK government, before they even receive the money due.
      If a person contributes to a country’s finances there appears to be a prima facie legal justification to be able to participate in the election of the government(s) that will spend those taxes. The principle goes back to 1775 when British colonists in America rebelled when they were taxed by the British government but refused representation in the British Parliament. The consequences of that situation are still with us today.

    • J. A. Bosworth says:

      Many expatriates have UK pensions that are taxed at source in the UK. There is no opting out.
      Others have property or other financial links with the UK that make them liable to pay UK taxes.
      J. A. Bosworth

    • J. A. Bosworth says:

      If Mr Cushing is a UK pensioner, he should already be aware that UK pensions are taxed compulsorily at source. If he is not a UK pensioner, he should be informed that this is the case.

      • Michael Cushing says:

        just found this blog – see my other comments please , whoever has given you info on this matter is wrong ( yes the IR will take your tax when they know if your abroad that it is unlikely that you should be paying them . I notice your comments re war pensions – are you affected by the withdrawel of local agents for SPVA – british consulate -1st April 2013

    • jaboz55 says:

      It must be common knowledge by now that the UK government taxes at source – i.e, before it is paid – all UK-derived income. (This includes pensions, benefits and other allowances or income). It does not grant concessions to this rule. Even if it did, being taxed in the country of residence may not be advantageous. There are provisions in place to avoid double taxation – i.e, the same money being taxed in UK and in the country of residence – but these don’t solve any other problems.

    • jaboz55 says:

      One gets tired of repeating that Government pensions – OAP, MoD, Civil Service – and Benefits (e.g, Winter Fuel Allowance) are taxed at source, i.e, before the recipient gets the money. Also, unless one completes the necessary complex documentation,,one is liable to double taxation in the country of residence,

  60. susan benekou says:

    i’ve been living with my greek husband and our children here in greece for the last 20 years,and although i am able to vote in european elections i cant in my country of origin. how ridiculous! what can we do to change this law and make those who want to vote be able to do so. In the uk thousands dont vote as are so disinterested in the system, why not then let those who are ,do so irrespective of where they live and being punished for their life choices.

  61. Nina Young says:

    I live in New York now, but follow British politics closely, and visit the UK for extended periods at least twice a year. I’m likely to return to live in Britain in the future, and meanwhile, would like my say in who governs the country. I fully support the idea that ex-pats should have the right to vote, no matter how long it is since they resided in the UK.

    My current country of residence is the United States of America.

  62. Ben Lenthall says:

    ‘No taxation without representation’ was a slogan that led to universal suffrage – a battle that seemed to have been well and truly won over a hundred years ago.
    It may well be our choice that we are no longer resident in the UK, but it is iniquituous that Europe allows us to be stateless in terms of voting rights. I cannot vote in a UK general election and I can’t vote in a French one either – in short politics in either country is thought to be none of my business and my democratic right to vote is ignored.
    Why should I have to become French just so I can vote somewhere?! I’m British (as it says on my passport) and I wish to remain so. I should have the continuing right to express my vote at the ballot box.

  63. J. A. Bosworth says:

    Some of my comments seem to have disappeared from these pages.
    I trust that this is the result of a technical glitch and not a form of censorship, so I anticipate their restitution in the near future.
    J. A. Bosworth

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      Hello again, Mr Bosworth,
      Out of respect for all those including yourself who contributed comments to the side argument in question, these are not censored but saved from public view within the system, since they distract from the main issue.
      I’m happy to restore them if the majority agree with you.

  64. Andrew McDermott says:

    I now live in France and have paid UK tax since leaving school in 1959 and continue to pay tax on my Civil Service and State pension. I visit the UK annually to see family and maintain bank and savings account there. I have therefore NOT cut my ties with the UK and have voted in every national election.

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      Thank you for your comment, Mr McDermott.
      You present an interesting case in continuing to register to vote in UK elections through a UK address on the Electoral Roll, and to pay UK income tax on your civil service and state pensions whilst living as a non-resident (?) in France.
      Perhaps the Civil Service is a special case or I assume you have not yet spent 15 years living in France but would wish to keep your voting rights after 15 years?

  65. Peter Courtney-Green, Luxembourg says:

    It is unfortunate that JAB should accuse the organisers of deception when the truth is that he got hold of the wrong end of the stick. The website makes no mention of signing a parliamentary e-petition that requires 100,000 signatures to provoke a debate in the House of Commons. Just as well, because there would be no hope of getting that many signatures. The website urges people to write to the Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform, Mark Harper, the EU Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship, Viviane Reding, and to “your MP” (I use the quotation marks because many of us, having been disenfranchised, don’t have an MP).

    I wrote to my MP when I had one, but he’s now retired to tend his duckhouse, and I wrote to the candidates for the seat before the last election, in which I had no vote. I will now do what the organisers recommend and write to Mr Harper, Mme Reding and the one who would be my MP if I had a vote.

    The only advice I can offer JAB, if I may be so bold (as one old soldier to another), is to keep calm and carry on (to quote the wartime poster) and vent his pique, if it must be vented, by writing another of those rather good poems I found on his website.

  66. J. A. Bosworth says:

    But the organisers of this Blog-site confirm that there is NO associated e-Petition to sign. They say that one that exists, (with its meagre 16 votes) does NOT meet their specifications, so they won’t thank you for signing that one.
    The whole campaign here has been misleading. There were the recent unrealistic expectations raised for the recent Electoral Reform Committee Meeting and the even more recent European Debate, and now more than a thousand people, thinking they have signed an e-petition, have actually only signed a vote for this blog,
    I am personally embarrassed to have directed MPs, business people, family and friends to this site by telling them that there WAS an official e-Petition when, in fact, there wasn’t one.
    I’m a former military Officer who says things as he sees them, not as he wishes they were. If one can’t be honest with people how can one expect to be trusted?. When they realise the deception, they will not be pleased!.
    I don’t want to participate further in a campaign whose organisers behave in the same deceptive way as our politicians, so this will be my last comment on it; unless I’m provoked!.
    J. A. Bosworth.

  67. Denis & Julie Turner says:

    I have been following Mr Bosworth’s comment with some interest. Whilst I am sure he wishes to assist with the cause he seems to have come into it rather late in the day and has failed to grasp just what good work has been done by the team nor has he researched thoroughly what measures they have taken. There seems little point in trying to cause a schism especially as he seems to offer no reasonable alternative.

    We all know that ‘e’ petitions carry very little weight even if the required number of votes are achieved as the government of the day will still decide if they wish to take it further or not.

    Personally, I am grateful for the work undertaken to date by the team with very few resources and they should be congratulated for getting the matter to the attention of the UK press as well as MP’s who are trying to support a very difficult cause.

    We all know we are a low priority but we are kidding ourselves if we think that an ‘e’ petition will lead to a successful conclusion.

    Keep up the good work, as Robin Hicks quite correctly points out we can all sign the ‘e’ petition if thought useful. We should all play our part however we go about it so I also wish Mr Bosworth all the very best in his attempts to apply freelance pressure. However, united we stand but divided we fall…

  68. J. A. Bosworth says:

    TO: right2vote4xpatbrits.
    If what you say in your reply to my last comment is correct, then we do not have an official e-Petition site at all. We only have a Blog-site.
    If we have no official e-Petition site, the government won’t even know that the Bog-site exists or, if it does,, it won’t take much notice of it, no matter what we’d like to think. It is only interested in official e-Petitions with sufficient signatures to make ii pay attention.
    If we don’t quickly sort this out, we’re wasting our time and efforts trying to get people to sign a non-existent Petition. I’ve been devoting myself to rally support, only to find that there is no official e-Petition. What are my contacts going to say when I tell them that?. They’ll probably say that I’ve misled them and they want nothing to do with such an ill-organised project that has no hope of success.
    I have to say that the ineptitude which such a situation reveals is almost unbelievable. It is a public relations disaster of major proportions.
    I want a definitive answer. “Is there to be an official e-Petition for ‘Votes for Expats’?”..
    If not, I shall withdraw from any further involvement. I’ve got better and more important things to do than idly venting frustrated opinions about the UK’s democratic and moral deficits. We’re already well enough aware of them.
    J. A. Bosworth.

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      Hello Mr Bosworth,
      Could you please just stop and listen for once before rushing off again with another idea in your head about what we should or should not be doing and blaming everybody apart from yourself for your misunderstanding. You are a free agent and can do whatever you want with your time if you do not agree with our strategy but our website and associated on-line poll was up and running before you came across it and starting commenting. Our main strategy is to support the twin legal challenges to the British government through Harry Shindler and James Preston in October/November of this providing the arguments in favour of removing the 15 year rule to the widest spectrum of British expats and British MPs irrespective of the number of votes we draw, although obviously the more we can draw the better.

      • Robin Hicks says:

        Oh dear – there are always Bosworths aren’t there – once you try to do anything there is always someone who knows better!
        Well done you for getting this going – a great idea and we can also vote on the e-petition site too

      • J. A. Bosworth says:

        I’ll shut up after this message.
        The government will contest both legal cases to the very last possibility. That could take many months. There is no hope of a quick resolution, for the same reason, even if the Electoral Reform Commission rules in our favour.
        I am not prepared to waste more time and effort on this project if there is no official e-petition. I’ll do what I did before and try to apply freelance pressure where I can and leave you to pursue what seems a futile course.
        J. A. Bosworth.

  69. J. A. Bosworth says:

    Refernce my comment about the e-Petition.
    I think I’ve found the answer to the discrepancy between 16 and 1,100 votes.
    It seems that more than 1,100 people have signed your ‘Sign Up Vote’ thinking that they’ve signed the official e-Petition.
    If that is correct, it is a serious mistake. (No government is going to take any notice of less than a score of petitioners).
    Something need to be done to get everyone to sign the official e-Petition.
    Do you have any practical suggestions?.
    J. A. Bosworth.

  70. J. A. Bosworth says:

    Yesterday afternoon I spent several hours watching the whole of the European Debate in Parliament..
    As was predictable, (since the Debate was about UK-EU relationships and not — except in so far as both sides ignore their electorates — about how they treat their nationals more generally), the only mentions of ‘British voters’ rights’ clearly referred to those resident in UK, not those resident$ abroad. Expatriates were not mentioned at all, even though numerous MPs complained that the official tri-Party policy was deliberate flouting of the electorate’s will..
    The fact is that, if a Referendum on Europe — which could crucially affect expats there — were to take place within the next two or three years, many thousands of expats would be excluded from participation unless the law had been changed in their favour beforehand.
    Our movements’ leaders must stop raising false hopes that UK MPs are interested in us. They are not, Twice in the past couple of weeks, expats’ hopes have been unnecessarily heightened by strong suggestions that the recent Electoral Reform Committee Meeting and yesterday’s European Debate would address our situation and perhaps reach definitive decisions. In both cases, as the records shew, these expectations were unrealistic. It must be understood that these kinds of misleading agitations will quickly disillusion our supporters, who will lose trust in our leaderships and faith in the ultimate success of our projects.
    We should recognise the fact that MPs, (and the entire UK Parliamentary system), where they bother to think about expats at all, are antipathetic to UK nationals abroad. We must therefore treat them, not as potential friends or allies, but as opponents in a high-stakes game of cards who must be outwitted if we are to win the jackpot containing lifetime voting rights, and annual pension upratings, for all expats.
    That being so, we must be more realistic, both about our expectations and about how we deal with the situation.
    We must now concentrate ouir activities upon building-up our support in the UK — where, by definition, expats lack influential representation — and also moblise action groups around the world, particularly in Europe and the Commonwealth countries where numerous long-term expats are resident.
    All expats who want to achieve our aims should, therefore, not only sign the e-Petition itself, (if they haven’t already done so), but also encourage all their family members and friends to do the same.
    They should also e-mail, or write to, their current MP — or the MP of their last UK Constituency — as well as to the Electoral Reform Commission and the leaderships of the UK’s three main political Parties, urging them to support our causes. British stars of sport, stage and screen — of whom there is currently a significant number — should also be lobbied and encouraged to speak out loudly and persistently on our behalf. (Influential business personalities — Sir Richard Branson, the Chairmen of Sainsbury’s, Tesco, British Airways, etc, should also be asked to do the same).
    I strongly suspect that we also lack the financial resources to promote our causes; so we need to approach wealthy philanthropists and ask them to fund a series of publicity campaigns. That implies the establishment of a small but efficient UK-based organisation to administer any funds received and to co-ordinate publicity.
    Even if we were to obtain more than the required minimuim of 100,000 signatures on our e-Petitions, (and thereby win a possible debate in Parliament), the Government and Opposition may well seek to frustrate us, (as they did in yesterday’s European Debate), by cynically colluding to impose a compulsory 3-line Whip to vote down any motions proposed.
    I also heard Brian Cave’s broadcast, yesterday, on .Although I would have wanted him to raise my own ‘hobbyhorse’ of ex-military pensioners — many of whom suffer from injuries and illnesses related to their service — and the breach of the Military Covenant, it was a good and effective presentation. I congratulate him on a job well done. (The reality is, however, that he was preaching to the converted; i.e, expats. Copies of his broadcast should therefore be sent to the UK media with a request that it be transmitted nationwide).
    Until we can get ourselves organised along the lines I have suggested here, we are unlikely to make much progress.
    My own poor health means that I myself can do little more than offer encouragement and cheers from the sidelines, but there must be some former diplomats, business men and politicians amongst the global millions of expats who could use their knowledge, contacts and talents in the service of our causes. We need them. Where are they?.
    J. A. Bosworth.

  71. Dian Elvin says:

    I have just listened to Brian Cave on “Expats Radio”:
    It is well worth listening to. The lack of interest shown to expats by most MPs in Britain (not all) is illustrated by the small number of British MPs who are seriously interested in un-freezing the state pensions of their countrymen/women living in Commonwealth countries. My own dual citizenship, British/Australian, did not give me dual rights when I lived in Australia. My pension was frozen and voting was denied me. Returning to live in the UK, I can now vote and receive an indexed pension.

  72. J. A. Bosworth says:

    During Prime Minister’s Questions today, (19th October 2011), the bravery and devotion to duty of the UK’s armed forces was mentioned several times — partly in connection with the Help for Heroes project and National Heroes Day this coming weekend.– yet not one of the speakers, nor the Prime Minister, took the opportunity to raise the ‘taboo’ subject of expatriate votes.
    Yet retired Armed Forces personnel are still being deprived of their democratic and constitutional rights despite the Military Covenant.
    It is almost as if there is a Parliamentary conspiracy to keep the problem off everyone’s agenda so that the electorate remains unaware of the glaring discrepancy between fine words and mean actions. (Many years ago a poet wrote: “Deeds not words shall speak me”).
    How does this hypocritical situation help the heroes or adequately recognise the sacrifices they made on behalf of their homeland?. (As Shakespeare wrote: “Words pay no debts”).
    I am today writing to the media suggesting that the Justice Secretary (Kenneth Clarke MP), the Minister for Electoral Reform (Mr Harper MP) and the Defence Secretary (Mr Hammond MP), may all be liable to legal prosecution for intentionally and illegally depriving British nationals of their human and democratic and Constitutional right to vote in UK General Elections and Referenda. (It cannot be a legitimate defence to this charge to say that the subject is being ‘actively’ considered, when the problem has already been ‘under consideration’ for many years. How long does a Department or Minister really need ‘actively’ to consider a simple matter of democratic and constitutional principle?)

  73. J. A. Bosworth says:

    We are now witnessing the unedifying situation, (typical of ‘our’ self-centred MPs in the Westminster Village), of Parliament devoting the last two weeks hunting the evasive Dr Fox and hounding him out of office for breaching the rules for Ministerial conduct, whilst spending considerably fewer than 5 minutes on Expat Voting Rights at a recent Electoral Reform Committee meeting.
    Shouldn’t the Ministers and Committee members who have for years breached the Parliamentary principles that MPs should further democracy and right injustices suffered by British nationals — wherever they are in the world — be vigorously pursued by the House for culpable dereliction of their duty?.
    J. A. Bosworth

  74. Pingback: Discuss British expats demand the right to vote on British Expats Abroad

  75. J. A. Bosworth says:

    Everyone who accesses this site should immediately sign the e-Petition.
    If that happened we could get enough signatures for the subject to be discussed in Parliament.
    Should this opportunity be missed, the government will say that expats are not sufficiently interested in supporting the project. It will take that opportunity to strike our case from its list of ‘What to do’ next?’.
    Act now or regret later!. Your vote is in your own hands!.
    Whilst you’re on the e-Petition site, also take the extra minute to sign the e-Petition on annual uprating of ALL expat pensions.
    J. A. Bosworth.

  76. christine marshall says:

    I live in Australia and would like the right to vote

  77. J. A. Bosworth says:

    I have just watched the final ceremony at Wooton Bassett, where the town has today been granted Letters Patent designating it ‘Royal’ because of the respectful honour it accorded — during almost 4 years — to more than 350 dead service(wo)men returned to the UK through the town. The Princess Royal, Prime Minister and (new) Defence Secretary were present. Once again, expressions of praise, gratitude and remembrance were freely made.
    How, then, can the government allow, let alone support, the disenfranchisement of retired military personnel simply because they now live abroad. There are both moral and democratic deficits in this situation, especially since the government is proud of having put the Military Covenant on a legal basis. How can it not see the blatant discrepancy?.
    The people of Royal Wooton Bassett have shewn what they think of our armed forces. Are our politicians shewing what they think of them by denying their right to vote in their homeland?.
    J. A. Bosworth

    • Robin Hicks says:

      You are of course right – it is a disgrace.
      However I do have to congratulate you on the spelling of SHEWN – at one time even the Southern Railway used this form

      • J. A. Bosworth says:

        Thanks, Robin.
        We poets respect the rich variety that the English language and orthography offer for the accurate expression of our ideas and feelings!.
        J. A. Bosworth

      • Robin Hicks says:

        I do like the phrase “we poets” – excellent. One of the programmes under my editorial was “Poetry Please” – but the trouble with radio is you could never hear the difference between the “e” and the “o” shown/shewn!

  78. maurice benson says:

    Across a whole range of issues the government is in effect disowning British expatriates- this needs to be addressed.
    Country of Residence: Australia

  79. Denise Slater says:

    My husband receives the princely amount of GBP 18 per week. He is now 81 and this is the time when we need a realistic pension to survive on. He is proud to be British (as I am of my own heritage as I was born in Holland) but it’s just insulting that as an electrical engineer who came to Oz to work on the Blue Streak, that’s all he’s considered worth. Where are his rights and those of all of the people above? Shame on the government (Labour and Conservative) that rules from Whitehall by abusing its power to ensure their own financial future is secured.

    D. Slater

  80. allan Dandridge says:

    Having been born in Britain and served in the RAF for 12 years I am disgusted that I will not be allowed to vote in British elections in the future.
    Allan Dandridge, residing in Australia

  81. john connolly says:

    It is unjust that in leaving UK to live in Australia for family reason my rights are completely ignored after years of working and paying taxes in UK..

  82. J. A. Bosworth says:

    I have now been advised on the legal position. expat votes, in respect of the ’15 Year Rule’.
    It appears that the legal effective date of this clause in the Representation of the People Act is not from the date of the legislation (2002), but from the date of last residence in UK, even if that was earlier than the legislation date.
    It is clear that this was effectively retrospective law, another abuse of the legal system which, (in other contexts), makes crimes of activities that — at the time they were done — were perfectly legal. In the case of expat votes, it puts those affected on a par with felons who are serving a custodial sentence after conviction for a criminal offence. What is worse, in some respects, is that many of those convicts are soon to be given the right to vote, whilst the government continues to deny that right to law-abiding expats.
    That, to put it mildly, is insulting to all expats.
    J. A. Bosworth.

  83. Brian Cave says:

    Dear Mr. Bosworth – from Brian Cave –if you contact me at , I can add you to the list of recipients of updates and send you a copy of Anita’s submission. All the team have made submissions to the Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform of the House of Commons as have a number of the contacts on our lists. Anyone can send a submission. We had notice of the Select Committee meeting only very recently. I do not have access to your email address.
    The address to send a submission is The recipient Ms Goddard (committee assistant) is bound to make copies and distribute to all the committee members. Time, as they say is of the essence. Submissions must be sent before tomorrow (Tuesday) night. The contents could well be made public -warning!

  84. Colin Blackwell says:

    The Cabinet Office has asked for feedback on its Bill to change how Voter Registration is done. Basically this is the best immediate shot we have to abolish the 15 year rule. As many British Expatriates as possible need to email THIS WEEK i.e. by Oct 14th urging that the 15 year rule is dropped in this legislation. More information at .

    The under current is that a consensus is building within the collation to extend the cut off period back to 20 years rather than 15 years as opposed to abolishing it completely – so the more responses they get this week the better.

    • J. A. Bosworth says:

      I have e-mailed the site you provided.
      I would not accept any time-limitation on the democratic right of expatriates to vote in General Elections, because that would compromise the principle that a country’s nationals — no matter where they currently live, nor how long they are there — have an inalienable right to choose the governments that will decide their pension and taxation policies.
      England lost its North American colonies in the 18th century because it refused to accept the principle of ‘No Taxation Without Representation’. The consequences of that are obvious today.
      Now, in the 21st century, at a time when the turn-out at General Elections is below 50%, the UK is losing the votes of those who WANT to participate, by refusing the right of passport-holding, taxpaying, law-abiding Britons to participate.
      Of what are our MPs afraid?.
      J. A. Bosworth.

  85. J. A. Bosworth says:

    I have now also written to James Murphy MP, the Opposition Defence spokesman, asking him to raise the subject, since many expatriates are former military service personnel and the current ’15 Year Rule’ contravenes the spirit — and probably the text, if one could find it — of the much vaunted Military Covenant whereby both the Government and the Opposition agree that they will not disadvantage former service personnel.
    I am not interested only in votes for ex-military personnel, however, but for ALL expatriates. So, since the ’15 Year Rule’ was only introduced in 2002, I am investigating whether it was retrospective. If not, nobody should be disenfranchised before 2017 at the earliest. I hope to have a precise legal ruling about this within the next few days.
    I am rather disappointed that nobody has responded on this site to my previous suggestions, confirming that they will contact ‘Private Eye’ and/or ‘The Telegraph’. If we are not prepared to promote our own case publicly, how can we expect others to do so on our behalf?.
    I am in my mid-70s and never missed a vote, even when on active service, but I will be disenfranchised this year, if the 2002 clause was retrospective, because I left UK in 1996. I want that right restored to me immediately.
    I know that the subject is under review in the Justice Department, because I have been pressing the case for more than 18 months already. But lone voices tend to be ignored. A concerted, short, sharp and active campaign now could swing the balance in our favour.
    Let’s do it!.
    J. A. Bosworth.

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      Hello Mr Bosworth,
      Sorry if you feel disappointed but if you click on the “More Media Buzz” page of this blog you will see for example that Anita Rieu-Sicart has already contributed an article in the Expat Telegraph on 16th August, 2011 on why expat Brits should keep their votes and we sense this newpaper sympathetic to our cause. Also if you visit our main website and click on “Media Buzz” you’ll get a good picture of what’s going on in the media with respect to discussion/promotion of our voting rights. There are a lot of initiatives taking place similar to your own, therefore, and we are trying to consolidate them all here. As further examples we have launched “Voting _Rights” on Twitter, and “Voting Rights” on the Europe forum to develop awareness and/or support within the expat British community. Again, we have a common interest with, and support from, the International Consortium of British Pensioners which is campaigning for the British government to unfreeze their pensions. On your military covenant issue, we have WWII veteren Harry Shindler who has already successfully taken his case to the European Court of Human Rights and been interviewed on the BBC. The voting rights case of expat James Preston against the British government will also be heard in the high courts in London in November of this year I believe. MP Mark Harper is the person responsible within the government for addressing this issue of the 15 year cut-off rule for expat voting rights and you have his contact details on our website as well if you like many other expats choose to write to him, specifically in your case on the issue of the military covenant.
      Thank you for your support.

      • J. A. Bosworth says:

        Thanks for the update.
        I am quite busy on several projects, so can’t review everything.
        My aim is to galvanise as many expats as possible to make their views known to the authorities so that the subject cannot be ignored as the government seems to want.
        J. A. Bosworth.

      • J. A. Bosworth says:

        I have 2 questions for you.
        1. There are 196 — and rising — comments on this site, but I can count only just over 154 names. Presumably it’s not a requirement to comment on this site, but is there any correlation with the signatures on the e-Petition?.
        2. How can I get the names and contact addresses — preferably e-mail –of expats currently living in Switzerland, so that I can keep them informed about any future developments?.
        My e-mail address is:
        J. A. Bosworth

      • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

        Concerning answers to the two questions you raised:
        A1: When you vote on the Sign-up poll you do not necessarily have to leave a comment although we ask each voter to at least give their country of residence for statistical purposes. The difference in the 196 comments and the 154 names is explained by some correspondants (such as yourself) coming back to add more than one comment.
        A2: Those who have voted on this website can keep themselves informed of future developments by regularly revisiting it (like yourself) if they so choose, as we try and post the latest developmment on this voting rights blog.
        What future developments do you have in mind that are different? If you know of other British expats living in Switzerland we would appreciate you bringing our website to their attention.

      • J. A. Bosworth says:

        Thanks for your reply.
        1. I was wondering why so few people were participating and whether the numbers were similar for the e-Petition.
        2. There are several projects in the ‘planning pipeline’ and I would like to keep any Swiss-based expats informed of progress and how they can contribute to their success.
        J. A. Bosworth

      • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

        1. You’ll find well over 1100 votes plus other comments on the on-line Sign-up poll (e-petition).

      • J. A. Bosworth says:

        1. Eleven hundred signatures for the e-Petition are simply not enough, given that there are millions of Britons living abroad, of whom more than 50% are permanent expats. This lack of manifest interest is an excuse for the government to say that most expats are not interested in having a vote in UK.
        2. This is our ‘Achilles heel’ and the reason why we need to obtain the contact details of as many expats as possible so that we can galvanise them into responding.
        3. I have heard that some expats may be deterred from signing because they fear that they — in effect their families — will become liable to Inheritance Tax, etc, once they are on a UK Electoral Register. Yet, if they pay UK taxes on their pensions or other UK-sourced income, the Taxman already knows whether or not they are liable to Inheritance Tax. So not signing our e-Petition won’t help them, but will harm our cause. I think Inheritance Tax is inherently wrong morally, because it not only imposes an unearned supplementary tax on property and wealth that have already been taxed more than once, (income tax, VAT, stamp duty and rates), but also discourages prudent saving in order to benefit families that — in order to pay the tax — can themselves become impoverished. (The potential solution here is to sign the e-Petition that calls for the abolition of Inheritance Tax, not to withhold support for Expat Votes).
        4.The scandal is, that these taxes are being levied but the payers are not allowed to vote.
        J. A. Bosworth

      • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

        1. I agree that 1100 – 1200 votes so far doesn’t seem much compared with the estimated 5 – 6 million British expats but it takes time for the word to spread and only now for example are we beginning to build up support from the important destination for expat Brits of Australia. It would be a rather weak argument from any government which has so neglected its expats’ voting rights, by the way, to use any corresponding (or perceived) lack of interest on the part of some of these expats as an excuse for rejecting our campaign. Before the last general election the Electoral Commission made an effort to increase the number of expats registered to vote and managed with some assistance from political party members living abroad to increase the total from some 13, 000 to over 30,000 (+230%) which shows what more encouragement can achieve. If the estimated 50% of expats who don’t have the right to vote were given the vote, it can only improve the number likely to register.
        2. These votes but more importantly the comments which accompany them from disgruntled expats should be viewed as building further support for the main thrust of our campaign i.e. the legal challenges of Harry Shindler and James Preston.
        3. Expats are certainly wary of the tax implications of being on the electoral roll but are also put off by the bureaucratic difficulties of actually registering and then voting by postal vote or proxy, by means which are increasingly outdated given the communications aids available today.
        4. This is the counter argument to uninformed people who say expats shouldn’t be able to vote because they don’t pay taxes!

      • J. A. Bosworth says:

        1. I accept your arguments, but the government only needs a ‘weak’ excuse to scupper the project. The Committee on Electoral Reform has recently shewn how lukewarm it is by not discussing the expat question at last week’s public hearing. The Minister responsible (Mr Harper) could have raised the subject himself in the absence of a specific question from the Committee, all of whom had been briefed about our case. Since they chose not to ask, and he chose not to mention it, the positions of both the Committee and the government seem clear: ”Do nothing and the storm will soon blow over’.
        2. The point here is that most MPs don’t see any personal advantage in potentially getting a few extra votes from expats registered in their constituencies. (After all, the expat may vote for another candidate!). My own MP — for one more month — thinks he’s wasting his time on me because I no longer actually live in his constituency and will soon be struck off the Electoral Roll. The same is probably true for expats registered elsewhere in the UK.
        3. Since ‘moral principle’ seems to be a phrase that many MPs don’t know, and ‘democracy’ appears to be a concept they don’t really understand, they have no particular incentive to support us.
        4. One conclusion I draw from all this is that we have to mobilise both expats and MPs to join our cause. The question is: ‘How best can we achieve that?’. Any realistic suggestions will be very welcome.
        J. A. Bosworth

      • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

        1. I’m not that disappointed by the seeming lack of attention paid by a select committee addressing the question of Individual Elector Registration of those currently qualified to vote in order to reduce the amount of fraudulent registrations in the UK. MP Roger Gale has indicted that the government is minded to look at the issue of expat voting rights and particularly the 15 year rule, as indeed has MP Mark Harper, the minister responsible.
        2. I’m sure the same is true of some MPs who see no personal advantage from withdrawing of constituency boundaries either if their constituencies vanish overnight! The point is whether the current government is really “minded” to address the issue of expat voting rights; they are certainly facing legal challenges they will have to address from Harry Shindler & James Preston.
        3.They will have an incentive if the governing Coalition sees an advantage from an increase in the voting base of expat Brits.
        4. As MP Roger Gale has suggested, we all need to write to our MPs (in the constituency where we last voted that is) to press our case (as already suggested on our website) and demonstrate the depth of feeling within the expat British community.

  86. J. A. Bosworth says:

    Further to the above: the e-mail address for Private Eye seems to have been lost in transmission. It is <

  87. J. A. Bosworth says:

    At the Tory Party Conference today — as he has done in the House of Commons on several occasions — the Prime Minister fulsomely praised ex-service personnel and other Britons who had spent their working lives serving their country with devotion He again promised that they would be cared for in recognition of what they had done.
    Yet his government continues — in the full knowledge that the practice is illegal — deliberately to remove from law-abiding British nationals their inalienable democratic right to vote in General Elections.
    I have written to Private Eye, (that habitual scourge of corruption and wrong-doing in high places), asking it to mount a campaign in support of expatriates’ voting rights.
    I have had no answer yet to my e-mail, but if all the contributors to this site were to e-mail or write to Private Eye urging the same thing, it might be stirred into action on their behalf
    The e-mail address is: and the address for ordinary mail is: .The Editor, Private Eye, 5 Carlisle Street, London, W.1.D.3.BN, England.
    The Daily Telegraph also expresses a strong interest in expatriate matters and even issues a weekly overseas edition, (The Telegraph), with a multi-page section on expatriate matters. It has published some of my e-mails in its letters section. The relevant Telegraph addresses are:
    ordinary mail: The Editor, The Telegraph, 111 Buckingham Palace Road, London, SW.1.W.0,DT, England.
    If contributors to this site were also to contact the Telegraph by one of these means and expressed their views, it may feel obliged to take notice.
    Please give it a try. The outcome can only be better than the present unsatisfactory situation.

  88. J. A. Bosworth says:

    I tried to get Sky News to ask the PM about this subject today.
    They didn’t.
    They’re more interested in the late Michael Jackson and glamorous ‘foxy’ Amanda Knox, both of whom are Americans.
    Nobody in the UK establishment or media wants to know about the illegal disenfranchisement of law-abiding, tax-paying Britons.. It’s probably because their own votes aren’t in danger.
    We need somebody in the UK to organise an effective lobby and publicity campaign. is there anybody there prepared to promote our cause?.
    J. A. Bosworth

  89. Max Bishop says:

    To: J.A. Bosworth:

    My background, experience and place of residence match yours very closely. Perhaps we should meet to plan a campaign of action…. Max Bishop (Lausanne)

  90. J. A. Bosworth says:

    I should have added that, like many ex-patriates, I have numerous family members and other interests in the UK. I keep up-to-date with what’s happening in the UK via TV, the Internet, and a weekly UK newspaper.
    Most countries make provision for their nationals to vote whilst they are abroad. The UK does nothing except arbitrarily to cut off the proxy vote after 15 years without offering any credible reason why those who are still required to pay their taxes in UK are disenfranchised. The EU has told the UK government that this is illegal, but the government still refuses to remedy the injustice.
    Perhaps a major problem for ex-patriates is that, because we live abroad, we have no direct ‘lobby’ in the UK that carries weight with the government. Perhaps this site should implement a strong publicity campaign to bring the facts to the wider UK electorate which does not realise the ex-patriates’ situation.
    I have tried persistently to get action through my local MP in the UK, (who currently holds a government position that should give him influence), but he seems either unable or unwilling to press the matter of ex-patriate UK votes, even though he might benefit from mine — and perhaps several others — if he were to get something done to remedy the situation.
    I cannot help feeling that MPs are not interested in the subject. Perhaps they’re too busy making claims for their expenses, second homes and salary increases.

  91. J. A. Bosworth says:

    As a UK tax-paying ex-serviceman — 24 years in the Army, including ‘hot zones’ in Suez, Cyprus and Ulster — I am doubly penalised because the illegal abrogation of my right to vote in UK Elections not only contravenes the Military Contract to respect those who put themselves in danger, but also denies me my basic human right, as a UK national — guaranteed under Habeas Corpus, UK Common Law and International Law — to vote for the governments that will decide my pension and tax rates.
    I live in Switzerland.
    J. A. Bosworth

  92. Ann Whiteland-Smith says:

    I have a UK passport, a UK pension. I support your petition. I cannot see why I do not have the right to vote in the UK. I consider this illegal to take away this right. I do vote in local elections here in Spain.

  93. Michael Arbon says:

    I have lived in Denmark since 1970 and am now retired here. As I still have not changed nationality, I do not have the right to vote in Danish elections to “Folketinget” (corresponds to UK Parliament), so I am doubly disenfranchised.
    So UK government please show a good example to your Danish neighbours!!

  94. I have lived outside the UK since January 1970, 4 years in France, 37 in Belgium, where I still live.
    I was only able to vote twice in UK general elections, in 1964 and 1966. Since then I have been disenfranchised, as if I were a criminal. I was not even able to vote in the first European Parliament elections. All genuine expatriates were at that time immediately disenfranchised unless they continued to “live” in the UK in some way and be able to maintain their place on the electoral roll.

    In the late 1970s a number of us expatriates in Brussels founded ARBA, the Association for the Rights of Britons Abroad (now essentially dormant, but see ), in order to defend the rights of British expatriates, increasingly ignored by many in Government and in Parliament. Our first fights were about non-British spouses joining their British spouses in the UK, and the Nationality Act 1981. Then In the mid-1980s we also fought for the extension of voting rights for expatriate Britons – these were ultimately extended to 21 years after one’s departure from the UK, but recently reduced to 15 years. Of course in all of these successful campaigns ARBA was just one of many groupings in many parts of the World collaborating. Some, such as Professor Ian Forrester QC who commented above, still remember these campaigns.

    Some contributors above may be surprised to note that the extension to 21 years was under a Conservative government, the subsequent reduction to 15 years was under a Labour Government, but MPs favorable and unfavorable to voting rights for expatriates are to be found throughout both Houses, and this is all too often considered as an opportunistic way to increase or reduce proportions of votes for given parties, rather than as a democratic right and duty to be represented. It is noteworthy that the major parties’ representatives outside the UK have always worked together on this issue, as it is one that should be seen as being above any party-oriented politics.

    Representation and taxation – these are two entirely separate issues. Taxation is a material contribution to the expenses of the State, the region and the local level, while the right to representation, enshrined in all democracies and denied to several million British non-criminal citizens, is determined by the vote, which is both a right and a duty.

    Like most contributors above, while I keep very close ties with the UK, I am denied any representation at national or local level in my country, while I can vote at local level in Belgium and also for the European Parliament – but many of us would vastly prefer to vote for MEPs of our own country, and this is allowed by at least some EU member states.

    The upshot is – we cannot vote in ANY national-level elections, this is discrimination and ultimately a Human Rights issue.

    Please UK Government, show justice and give our votes back, for our full lifetimes.

  95. Yes indeed! You are making contact via this website, with a great many of Expats, who are totally disgusted by the fact they have been deprived of their vote, Expats like yourself who have been paying Income tax, council tax, etc, into the UK. for years. Action is happening. We are all getting in touch to co-ordinate action on a universal front. Keep in touch. Follow the action. Numerous articles have appeared in the press.
    We hope very shortly this website will carry some amplifying information.

  96. Andrew Brix says:

    I was much heartened tocome across this website today. I worked as an international civil servant here in Switzerland from 1983 to my retirement in 2007. I kept on my apartment in the UK on which I am liable for income and council tax. With modern communications I am better informed about the UK than ever, but (thanks a bunch !) I may not vote in UK elections ! If I was an Aussie, and didn’t vote, I’d get fined.

    Incidentally, what is the aim of this website ? Does it feed into active lobbying on our behalf ?. Although I’ve read all the pages on the site, maybe I have missed something. A reply would be welcome!

    Andrew Brix

  97. GRC says:

    The UK government wants our taxes but not our votes. One entitles us to the other, so no vote – no taxes would work if that’s the way they want to go. But so long as we are considered “eligible” for taxation, we should be “eligible” for a say in how that money is spent and in how UK citizens living abroad are teated. Simples!

    Obrigao e boa noite from Portugal.

  98. Lynne OSBORNE says:

    Without our voting influence they may start a war. Oops… another war.

  99. paul rees says:

    This situation is clearly a foolish loophole that needs to be addressed now, quietly and sensibly by the current government, or ‘let loose the dogs of war…’
    I am to my horror only a few years away from disenfranchisement. I have never skipped a vote in my life, fully aware that many of my father’s generation spilt their blood on foreign fields to enable me to put a simple tick in a box. This right shall not be taken from us.

  100. Roger Warby says:

    As usual, the UK talks democracy but adopts undemocratic policies, such as denying expats the right to vote after 15 years. Ironic that I act as Parade Marshal/Standard Bearer for the Royal British Legion in Paris, but am disenfranchised in the UK.

  101. George Sutherby says:


  102. Turners in the Tarn. says:

    Some good comments made above that fully demonstrates the anger felt by many ex-pats who feel they do not have a voice and also feel that those sitting in the ‘mother of parliaments’ alongside the Thames have deserted them, (with some notable exceptions).

    EXCEPT when it comes to election time. Those who still have a vote abroad are suddenly remembered when it is time to vote in a new government. I did cast my vote in the last election but have heard nothing since from those who were so keen to contact me at the time. How strange then that I do not need to have a voice after 15 years abroad but my voice counts up to that time. Surely this is not case of double standards by our politicians??

    Perhaps Dr. Rosemary Alabaster above hits the nail on the head when she says: “Next time there is a general election I shall go to Downing St. armed with my passport and demand my civil rights. This situation is monstrous.”

    Perhaps we should all go there and shame our politicians into changing this ridiculous rule. Proper representation is a basic human right surely?

    Brian Cave and others have fought long and hard for this right and we should support the cause. See Brian’s website at –

    If 90 year old Harry Schindler can fight on in Italy as he did as a soldier during WW2 then we all can.

    I have lived eight years in France and yes, like many above, I still pay tax to the UK, I have no choice in that. I started work at the age of 15 and was never out out of work until I retired at the age of 60 having paid NIC’s and tax for 45 years. I have almost 30 years police service behind me and my wife has 27 years magistrates courts service working in criminal law. We have family in the UK including children and grandchildren. We may live in France but our roots are in the UK, our place of birth. The decisions affecting our future here in France are mainly decided by the UK government as that is where our income originates.

    However, it will not be long before we lose the right to vote for the people who will make those decisions along with winter fuel allowance and other payments that we do NOT get from the UK that we would get if we lived there.

    I am not complaining but merely pointing out that ex-pats are in the main self sufficient and not a drain on the UK nor their host country. So why is it then, when it come to representation, we are such pariahs?

    My British Passport still says:

    Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State
    Requests and requires in the
    Name of Her Majesty
    all those whom it may concern to allow
    the bearer to pass without let or hindrance,
    and to afford the bearer such assistance
    and protection as may be necessary.

    So, how about the ‘mother of parliaments’ doing something to ensure that we ex-pats are given ‘such assistance and protection as may be necessary,’ starting with the right to vote in our land of birth?

  103. “No taxation without representation” is a slogan originating during the 1750s and 1760s that summarized a primary grievance of the British colonists in the Thirteen Colonies, which was one of the major causes of the American Revolution. Good ol’ History – always a laugh

  104. RON WRIGHT says:

    France has a Minister for the French abroad (David Douillet – ex Judo champion!). So why is the UK Govt not doing the same ? Completely illogical and not “fair play” PM Cameron!
    Ron of Rochefort(17300)

  105. Brian Corrigan says:

    Excellent website.

  106. Rosemary Bell says:

    Many UK citizens lost their right to vote while working abroad in the United Nations system – which I consider should be construed as serving the country’s interests! Many changes have been made over the years but their right to vote should be restored – along with that of those expatriated for other reasons

  107. John Mills says:

    Finally, a campaign which honestly compares Britain’s shoddy record and other more enlightened countries’ policies. I am a typical example of a person who has spent most of their working life abroad promoting Britain in the form of teaching English in schools, universities and businesses. My government is continually making decisions about taxation which affect me and citizenship which affect my family. My daughter is studying in England so the business about ‘ties being weakened after 15 years’ is ridiculous anyway. My wife on the other hand is Finnish and can in principle vote in Finnish elections from anywhere in the world. As has already been pointed out, “No taxation without representation!” Thank you for this campaign and good luck!

  108. Timothy Barry says:

    When expatriates were first allowed to vote in the eighties British political matters were largely a matter for those resident in Britain. I prized my right not to vote, pleased that that I was not forced to give cast a compulsory vote to somebody I did not value.

    Today the situation is different: Our country/our politicians considers/are tempted to relinquish our sovereignty for matters such a single European currency. These issues transcend national politics and in a true democracy the government is obilged to ensure all british subjects are able to express their preference until they renounce their nationality.

  109. Steven Oates says:

    Congratulations on the excellent website.

  110. Susan Ford says:

    My only complaint about voting from overseas is that when I voted in the last election I had to vote by proxy through my mother otherwise if I had voted by mail my vote would not have arrived in time to be counted because the Govt. insist on sending out the voting forms about a week before the election is due to take place. Given that it takes a few days for the forms to arrive in the first place and even longer when posting back to UK from California because the delivery service to UK is so slow, my vote would have arrived way too late to be counted. Lucky for me I was able to arrange for my mother to vote on my behalf otherwise there would have been no point in voting. I suspect the govt. has this rule in place to deter overseas voters from participating in the electoral process. Unless the rule changes and voting forms can be dispatched at least a month in advance to allow for the forms to arrive and for me to post back in a timely fashion before the deadline approaches then most of us overseas voters do not stand a chance of having our voice heard. This is a change we must address for our vote to count for something. I urge you to write to your MP about changing this rule a.s.a.p. Thank you.

  111. Richard Thompson says:

    No Taxation without Represenation

  112. James Southward says:

    I’m in the UK frequently, I maintain a room there, I’m even on a car insurance policy. I may spend most of the year in the US but I have maintained close ties and will probably be moving back shortly. I should not have to worry about losing my vote.

  113. John West says:

    I fully support this campaign. Current Country of Residence – Brazil

  114. Peter Long says:

    I believe the vote should be a right inherent to the passport you hold.
    I am retired and resident now in Spain but have worked many years in Germany for an International Organisation of which Britain is a member. I have never have a vote anywhere since leaving the UK, except that now I can vote for our local council as I pay property taxes. I must pay national taxes also but the Spanish do not give me a national vote. The British require me to pay double the going UK rate for my passport which I must have. I still have family ties to my homeland and am very interested in what happens there. What is it that so “treasonable” in the view of a narrow minded minority about retiring abroad within the EU of which Britain is a major member. Is a Londoner so condemned if he retires to Cornwall?

  115. Next time there is a general election I shall go to Downing St. armed with my passport and demand my civil rights. This situation is monstrous.

  116. Liza Russell says:

    Live in Germany despitey email address. Moved in 2010.

  117. Charles Farrell says:

    The 15 year rule is clearly very arbitrary. I feel disenfranchised, and am probably going to take Spanish nationality soon (a fairly easy process), mainly because of that. On the one hand, it’s logical that I should be concerned with the political future of my adopted country. On the other, why should I not have a say in future votes about the continued existence of the UK, promoted by nationalists, or about membership of the EU, promoted by Europhobes?

  118. Ben Sington says:

    Hello I lived in malta for 10 years and now work in melbourne Australia for 4yrs so next year I will be disenfranchised. From 1997-2005 I worked for a UK company in Malta paying UK NI and sending my daughter to school in the UK. I continue to support her in the UK and now my wife is of pensionable age from the UK state pension but has deferred taking it until we leave Australia due to it’s non indexation. My pension will be paid from a UK cmpany. Frankly it is absurd to not have the vote when we have so much vested interest in the country. I don actually know the reason why our vote is not possible

  119. Jennifer Usher Smith says:

    I fully agree and think that it is absurd that the U.K. as the “cradle of democracy” denies votes to expatriates

  120. Ian Mujrray says:

    I pay tax in the UK so I should be represented.We dont just need a vote we also need a MP to represent us all.We could have a virtual constituency,We should not have to vote from our last address.

  121. John Jowett says:

    Although I have always been (only) a UK national, I have not been able to vote in any country’s national elections since I left the UK in 1980 to work in an international organization (of which the UK is a major member). My children, now grown-up, may never vote in their lives, except for the village mayor and MEP. This is an anomaly for UK citizens within the European Union.

  122. Nicholas Lee says:

    Long overdue. Most UK expats I know, know more about UK politics than many UK residents, particularly those who have only recently arrived there.

  123. Suzanne Sessions says:

    Ex-Teacher resident in southern Germany.

    I pay taxes on income earned in the UK (Teacher’s Pension), yet have no right to vote on my representation. My pension is taxed at source by the government of the day. I also pay taxes on my earnings here in Germany and have no right to vote, so I am doubly disenfranchised.

    My State Pension, when I draw it, will be doubly administered by the UK and German pension schemes. I have no Parliamentary representation in either country, this is contrary to the Charter of Human Rights which the UK has signed and validated.

    I also resent having to pay over and above the National rate for renewing my passport. When my current one runs out in 2016, I have been told that I may have to travel to Düsseldorf where the only retinal scanning and digital finger printing equipment for Central Europe will be used to enhance the biometric controls on my passport. I have no representation to appeal to on this. My only viable alternative to to relinquish my British nationality, something I am reluctant to do.

  124. We paid UK taxes all our working life and we continueto be taxed by the uk without representation.
    It needs changing

  125. Helen Body says:

    We vote in local elections here in Crete, and in national ones in the UK – we wish to continue to do so!

  126. Sandy Henney says:

    My husband and live in Spain and as a retired police offcer and civil servant we have to pay tax in the UK. If our right to vote in the UK national elections is withdrawn perhaps the UK Gvnt will give us the choice to withdrawn our tax contribution from the UK and pay it to Spain instead. If our service to the UK means so little to our native country perhaps becoming Spanish is a better option! I wonder if all those rioters whose actions plunged England into global shame will keep their right to vote?

  127. Barry Williams says:

    No taxation without representation should be the principle. Here in France I can’t vote because I’m British, and soon (in another couple of years) I shan’t be able to vote in the UK either. I pay tax in both countries, but shall have the vote in neither. Is that democracy?

  128. Nicholas Rubery says:

    I have worked in Italy as an International Civil Servant for 20 years this year, this is an unacceptable situation on many fronts. I wish you all success with the campaign.

  129. Dese Byrne says:

    Dese Byrne,have been living in the U.S. since 1983 and have never let loose of my english roots,I see no reason why being english born and bred,I shouldn’t be able to vote in the u.k elections and since my family still have property which tax is paid on each year……………………….

  130. Kenneth Basham says:

    I am an expat who has lived and worked in Rome, Italy since 1985. With one thing and another i never got the chance to get back to vote in elections….which meant that through time i lost the vote…..i would love it back as i am proud to be British and believe i should still have the right to vote……..

  131. Gillian Hood says:

    As an ex teacher married to an ex RAF officer, our pensions MUST be taxed at source in UK. What happened to no taxation without representation?

  132. Mike Wood says:

    If the U.S. can organise participation in elections for their expatriates, so can the British – is it the Sir Humphreys who are blocking legislation?

  133. tony says:

    17 years in france so no vote in UK or French presidentials. Could applyfor French nationality but cost is about €800. Will wait and hope.

  134. Richard Dunham says:

    My residence and work in several countries outside the UK since 1994 has caused me to be disenfranchised in the country of my birth and nationality. However I do not yet have sufficient years residence in France, where I have settled and paid income and other taxes for 6 years now, to qualify for citizenship here and gain full French voting rights.
    Catch 22?
    Thank you, wise legislators, for your skill and perspicacity.

  135. Rod Stocker says:

    This is discrimination. We have paid our taxes and many continue to pay taxes in the UK. Many, like myself, receive pensions from the UK. We should therefore continue to have the right to vote for an indefinite period.

  136. S.Cowell says:

    No Taxation without Representation.

  137. Thank you for a really, very helpful comment. Very Constructive, and which needs acting on. Do keep in touch with the movement. I have mailed my article “Votes for Expats – No Taxation without Representation – to numerous expat websites, Clubs , and associations in this region. One website is already getting 4-5 hits a day on this news item. I shall shortly be putting it on the website with a link to votes for expats website. I am in touch with several other major groups and we are discussing how to move this campaign further forward.

  138. Colin Blackwell says:

    Your task is achievable. The collation agreement that cemented the current Government includes a commitment to legislation to bring in Individual Voter Registration. The opinion of many MP’s I have spoken to is that this will be the right place to include either extending or abolishing (as Germany has recently done) the arbitrary cut-off limit for overseas voters. One snag is that the Deputy PM’s office will be responsible for overseeing this. More important is the ability to be able to register to vote electronically with your last local authority. The present annual mail only system results in only a fraction of overseas Britons bothering to make the effort especially as the postal/proxy voting arrangements are themselves unfriendly. A harder end goal will be electronic submission of overseas votes. Through Conservatives Abroad Singapore we have lobbied a number of MP’s on both these issues and believe their is a core group that will try to shape the legislation for the benefit of increasing overseas voter participation when it is introduced.

  139. Ian L Jameson says:

    This ruling is absurd since all other countries allow their fellow countrymen to vote at their various embassies. It is deigning me the democratic right to vote for a government of my country of birth. Just because I live in another EU country does not mean I should be prevented from voting.

  140. David Dalton says:

    I totally agree the law in this mmatter is a shambles

  141. I live in France I will be continuing to pay income tax in the UK until the day I die, yet I will be denied the vote in the UK after the initial period expires. Whilst working in the UK I paid considerable taxes, in addition I served in the Reserve Forces, albeit briefly compared to many. I served on many local pro bono boards and initiatives, but all such things are cast aside in the twinkling of an eye. My daughter is British but has never been to Britain. Will she want to go I wonder? It’s easier to get a few extra votes by lterally buying them in Britain rather than giving them to people who should have them by right. No wonder there is such dissaffection with the political class. I say give votes to British expats; they can be good ambassadors for Britain.

  142. robina forbes-stafford says:

    Great though this website is, will it affect british members of parliament? Are there enough of us who really care about losing our vote? We need to get on to tv, radio etc. The loss of the democratic vote would make americans (for example) rise up in righteous indignation and hit the headlines, but who cares about expat brits, including a lot of the expat brits themselves?

  143. Nick Fry says:

    This should be a given, we pay tax in Uk but cannot vote, this is so wrong. Even third world countries allow their ex-pats to vote, what is wrong with this government and the MPs?

  144. Max Bishop says:

    Well said, Mr Courtney-Green!

  145. So how can we start to get the government to change how they think of us ex pats? We need to start to become united and fight for a change.

  146. Roger Hawkins says:

    I agree totallly with the above. Couldn’t have put it better myself. I was an early signatory, but managed to forget my country of residence; it is France. I lived in Germany for one year while still working. I only give this information because, wherever I am, as the above writer says, I am still British. My neighbours assume that.
    Roger Hawkins

  147. Jeronime Mills says:

    Country of residence – France for 38 years.

  148. Peter Courtney-Green, Luxembourg says:

    It’s been heartening to see so many messages from British expats who are as disgusted as I am about losing their voting rights. And then along comes M. Naughton to put us all in our place, starting with an irrelevant little lecture about the nature of the British electoral system. Thanks, Mr Naughton, we all knew that and it doesn’t add any value to your misguided argument.

    The assumption that most of us don’t pay taxes and that we have cut our ties with Britain after 15 years living abroad is staggeringly ignorant. If he had bothered to read a selection of the earlier posts he would be in no doubt that a large proportion of the British expat community still pay UK taxes, wherever they are now living, on their occupational and state pensions and any other UK income, and will do so until they die; after which their families will probably have to pay UK Inheritance Tax on what’s left. In any case, if paying taxes were the principal qualification for having a vote, a large proportion of those living in the UK would be disenfranchised – so paying taxes is not the issue.

    Being British citizens is the issue. However long we live abroad most of us remain British to the core. Many of us even listen to The Archers, God help us. Most of us have children, parents, brothers, sisters, extended families and networks of friends and associates in Britain. We support British charities. To imagine that living abroad for 15 years means you have cut your ties and turned your back on your country is utterly ridiculous.

    Mr Naughton says we can vote in local and European elections if we are living in the EU and bother to register as electors in our countries of residence. True, and I will be voting for Monsieur Schmidt the butcher in the next elections for my commune in Luxembourg, a right that was denied to me by the UK during the 15 years I remained on the electoral register in Devizes, because there was no mechanism to enable overseas residents to vote in local or European elections in the UK, even if they were on the electoral register – another deficiency of the UK system.

    Mr Naughton suggests, outrageously, that we should relinquish our British citizenship if we have lived more than 15 years abroad. I have been 18 years in Luxembourg, most of them working for an international organization of which the UK is a member, following 30 years service in the British Army. That’s 47 years continuous service to Britain and its allies, in return for which I have been deprived of my right to vote in my own country. The lovely Mrs Clegg, wife of our Deputy Prime Minister, will be able to vote in Spanish elections even if she remains a pillar of the British establishment for the rest of her life, however unlikely that may be. Peter Sutcliffe and his fellow band of mass murderers will be able to vote in UK elections because the European Court of Human Rights has ruled that they can. But we long term British expats can’t vote and none of the political parties seem to care about it. To add insult to injury we then have to put up with being lectured by people like M. Naughton. His post doesn’t say which country he lives in, or on which planet.

    Peter Courtney-Green

  149. Alec Grant says:

    Very pleased that this initative is being taken as it is high time we expat Brits have the same rights as Brits back in the UK.

  150. I am writing an article about Votes for Expats, in the August issue of my magazine VAR VILLAGE VOICE which circulates to hundreds of expats, the majority British, living in the Var, the next Departement to the Alpes Maritime. I have lived here for the past 20 years, and lost my vote, which I bitterly resent , I am disenfranachised as are many others, who like me retired to this area of France, It is totally laughable that the UK, priding itself on its ‘Democratic’system of government, should thus deny its citizens the right to vote, The majority of full time British residents here, retired after having spent all their working life in the UK, paying into the system. Many of them still pay income tax in the UK. No taxation without representation. I appaud the efforts of hard working MP’s like Roger Gale , who work tirelessly on behalf of Expats. I will also circulate comments to other expat websites. I urge all expats to support this campaign.;

  151. I support the right to vote of each British subject, no matter where they live.

  152. M Naughton says:

    Britain does not have a presidential system and so we do not directly elect an executive. We elect local representatives and the leader of the party with the largest number of these forms a government. We who no longer pay taxes (‘used to for X years’ doesn’t count) should not be represented, 15 years after cutting our ties.

    There will be those who split their time between UK and abroad. They still have votes. People who have left 20 – 30 years ago have built new lives in new countries and can (and should) vote there.

    Incidentally, in the EU, all EU citizens can vote in EU and local elections, regardless of citizenship. To vote in national elections, one need but apply for citizenship of the country of residence. And to head of a common response, it is hypocritical to hide behind politics of identity to say we should not give up British nationality when settling permanently (for 15+ years!) abroad. Do we not demand immigrants who come to the UK to integrate, and become irritated when a minority do not? We then should do likewise.

    And incidentally, ‘vote’ suggests a choice between differing options. This is not a vote; it is a petition.

  153. Des Sherriff says:

    Fully support. Living in Spain.

  154. john bedbrook says:

    British nationals should have the right to vote wherever they reside in the world.

  155. Nicholas Michael says:

    I left the UK in 1968 when I was 20, and never voted there as the age of majority was 21 at that time. I have since lived in Switzerland but did not take Swiss nationality (although I could) and have remained exclusively British. I was then not allowed to vote in the UK as the rules said you had to have voted in the UK at least once. So I have never been able to vote in my entire life. Although I have been non-resident for many years, I still feel British and follow British affairs closely. My wife and two children are British: none of us can vote. British subjects should have the right to participate in the affairs of their country, wherever they are.

  156. Guy Siddons says:

    As previous comments, why am I taxed in UK when I am not being treated to a citizen’s rights?

  157. Robin Hicks says:

    Good point – that would cause an upset. No taxation without representation was the phrase I think

  158. Paul Bristow says:

    I’m British, and have been out of the country for 14 years. I find it incredible that the right to vote in National Elections will expire. Somehow I doubt that their right to tax us expires after 15 years…

  159. Colin Yardley says:

    I am paid by the UK Govt, I pay taxes, and I have no rights after 20 years in France. Ridiculous!

  160. We should all have the basic right to vote in all U.K. elections at all times, what is the difference between the first fifteen years and the rest? Here in Spain we can vote in local elections but not in National Government ones.

  161. John Sutherland says:

    we should have the vote, I for one still pay UK income tax on my pensions

  162. Doreen Hooper says:

    I live in Spain and agree that we should be allowed to vote , as Uk is our Mother country and we have a passport to prove it.

  163. Robert Sherwood says:

    The RBL have raised the problem of not only Ex Pats but of Service personel who because they are out of the Country loose their right to vote.
    While I feel it is necessary for a vote in National Elections, I am more than happy to vote in Local and EU elections, but the State elections in Germany are neither Local nor EU.
    So a vote for the County Council (State)should be included in the Rights of Resident for State (County) Elections

  164. William james Mclucas says:

    Its a scandal and needs changing ,so come on Mr Cameron get it agreed.

  165. David Hayward says:

    I am an ex-serviceman with a ‘Government’ pension. I have not choice – I am taxed in the UK. I should be allowed to vote where I am taxed.

  166. John Roberts says:

    Those of us who have in France for over 15 yrs have no representation at a national level in either our country of residence or our country of birth. Now we all know the well quoted phrase of “no taxation without representation” – how about changing the emphasis to say “NO representation – NO taxation” !!
    In order to convince the UK governement to restore our UK voting rights, we need first to understand the logic and reasoning behind the original decision to deny us the right. We can then better address those issues and counter the government arguement.
    So which political party introduced the new regulation?
    Why did they introduce it?
    Was it going to save the governemrnt money?
    Was it the polotics of envy?
    Where they afraid the the expatriate vote would favour more the opposition parties?

    If the regulation was brought in by the current UK opposition and for the reason that they felt that the expatriates would not vote for them – then it should not be too difficult to persuade the current government to restore our vote!
    John Roberts

  167. Sorry I did not enter where I live previously. It is Australia

  168. I totaly agree with all of the comments. Will also add that the British Government SHOULD uprate our pensions in line with the pensions that they uprate in various other countries that pensioners decide to live in to be with their families.

  169. Jane Davies. says:

    Our rights as British citizens are blatently ignored by successive governments. As UK taxpayers we are treated with contempt because we have committed the “crime” of living outside of the UK. I still have the right to vote for ten more years having moved to Canada to join family in my retirement.
    For this crime I have my state pension frozen having paid NI since leaving school at age 16. If I lived a few miles away in the USA I would get my pension index linked.This is crazy and immoral
    and successive UK pensions ministers should be ashamed that this is still happening. They seem to have the money available to hand out to the work shy, folk who do not pay tax.
    I foolishly voted for Cameron and his band of two faced self serving pals because they promised to end the injustice of frozen pensions. Of course nothing has been done we are still ignored.

    • I agree and also feel that we should have the vote with an upgrade to internet voting instead of the snail mail that is used which deprives so many of effective voting due to the narrow window given. When will the government move into the 21st century ?. .

  170. Yvette Savile-Barton says:

    I agree with above comments

  171. David and Joanna Malley says:

    Although permanently resident in France, as British citizens and tax payers on property in the UK and on our Government pensions we believe we should have the right to vote in UK General Elections in line with British citizens and tax payers living in UK.

  172. Dian Elvin says:

    I am afraid our biggest problem is getting the UK government to listen to reason and common sense. A great deal of their time and a great deal of their money is spent pursuing self-interest. Mind you, votes should stir this self-interest up. Let us hope it does. Organising a postal vote from anywhere in the world (with time for postage) should not be too difficult for them and they did have our details on file for solidly freezing our pensions, because we lived in Australia, as well as indexing them on visits to the UK. What IS their problem with organising a usable voting system for Brits abroad?

  173. I was living in France for 5 years where I was very happy but have had to move back to the UK sadly due to the financial crisis and an Equitable Life problem.

    • I was appalled that we did not have a vote whilst in France and this needs to be set up swiftly to enable people to vote online in a secure way with a password. I look forward to a positive result.

  174. Prof. Emer. J. Mark Elvin says:

    I did not leave my details when I voted before. Apologies.

  175. Ingrid Lowe says:

    It everyone’s right to vote. It is often not in the country to where you may have moved .So one has to vote somewhere or you would be totally disenfranchised.
    Many people move to other countries to retire and then according to the 15 year rule would be disenfranchised at a very late age anyway. I think that would be distressing as it is not likely they’d want to move back to Uk then.
    Living abroad does not mean that you do not care about the country of which you are a national.It means that you see the Uk as a part of The Eu and the wider World.

  176. I am in touch with UK politics, economics and news. My vote is of great value to me and I want to keep it. Why should it disappear after 15 years? I am still British – I live in the EU, of which Britain is a part. I have not failed to vote yet. I am allowed to vote in the European elections and in my local commune for my mayor and councillors.

  177. Don Morman says:

    Even having a Proxy is not the same as being able to do it yourself. Don.

  178. Falkirk 'Bairn' - Australia says:

    We may take out citizenship in another country (even commonwealth!), but we can never change the “Land-of-Our-Birth!” The UK Government needs to keep-up with other advanced nations!

  179. Dian Elvin says:

    This is the website which is of interest:
    Not only voting will keep us in touch but our pensions should be the same no matter where we live.
    If our votes are counted we will be listened to, not disregarded. Voting is essential and it should be made easy. Even for the first fifteen years living abroad, when we were allowed to vote, it was complicated by having to find a proxy. Now back from Australia, we just walk round the corner!

  180. Peter Morris says:

    We also need access to a more efficient way of voting, preferably via a secure internet website or telephone, using a userid and password because the current system of sending pieces of paper backwards and forwards makes it very difficult to actually vote. The only realistic method at present, for many expats, is to have a proxy vote which is far from ideal.

  181. Robin Hicks says:

    Clearly another example of the “not so good as we would like to think” democracy in the UK. Why are “they” so frightened of the people? What is a country for if not for it’s people?

  182. Sharon Foster says:

    Hi from Canada where I emigrated in 1991 with my parents from the UK. My parents both died waiting for their pensions to be indexed. I am still waiting… YES I want the right to vote for me.. for my husband who died here in Canada at the age of 43 and he believed that pensions should be indexed.. and for my parents most of all who paid the most into the UK pension system and only got 6 years of pensions that were never indexed. We were all born in the UK and were proud to say we were British. What is the UK doing for us eh?

  183. So many of us who no longer live in Britain have extremely strong ties to the UK.
    These include economic ties: we have have pensions from British companies and we are affected by what happens politically and economically. Other Europeans are not denied a vote in their country of origin as we are after 15 years.

  184. I have been out of the UK for almost 30 years, I continue to be amazed at the inconsistent approach by the UK Govt in dealing with folks who are entitled to a pension having contributed for many years. The UK Govt has no right to hang on the money yet pay out for onshore pensioners.

  185. Susan Leather says:

    This is fundamentally a human rights issue but also a matter of governments being consistent and realistic. Europe spends billions on harmonisation, including of trivia such as the height of speed bumps, but can’t sort out the right to vote for all its citizens. I pay tax in the UK and in France, have a pension from both countries, but can’t participate in the democratic process through the ballot box. On a global scale, mobility of labour is encouraged on the one hand but discouraged through disenfranchisement.

  186. Alan Leather says:

    It is a strange irony that you can remain a member and participate in the democratic decision making of the same UK political parties that have supported the fifteen year cut off. At a time when mobility of labour is the norm no one should be disenfranchised.

  187. Colleen Garton says:

    I left the UK almost 18 years ago. A couple of years ago I got my letter telling me I was no longer eligible to vote. I voted in every election in the UK since I left. I am quite upset that I am no longer allowed to vote. I am as interested and well informed about UK politics as I am about US politics (where I currently reside). I get to vote here (and never miss an election) but no longer in my home country. I am in the minority in both countries in that I believe we have a “responsibility” to vote not just a right. With so many UK residents not exercising their right to vote, you would think the government would do all in its power to encourage those of us that are eager to do so!

    I agree with previous comments that it was very difficult figuring out how to join this campaign. Even after selecting the radio button to say where I was located, the instructions on how to add my name and email address were very confusing. A HUGE link to a petition – on the first page – is needed to get more people to sign up. That tiny little text link that is not at all intuitive. I have shared this link with a large network of expats but am not sure how many will figure out how to sign this petition!

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      Many thanks for your input on the difficulties you and others have experienced getting to the important sign-up part of our website and we will amend
      it accordingly.

      • J. A. Bosworth says:

        I am rather concerned about the Votes for Expats e-Petition.
        I have scrolled through, as carefully as I can — wasting lots of valuable time in so doing — most of the 340-odd pages on the e-Petition site.
        The only relevant e-Petition I could find is on p.78 of the Government List. It calls for the abolition of the ’15 Year Rule’, but has only 16 signatures on it.
        However, I had heard somewhere, that there is an e-Petition on Votes for Expats which has more than 1,000 signatures on it.
        If my information is correct, do you know where this Petition is to be found?.
        If it exists, we need to put the relevant page into the public domain so that supporters sign the best one.
        J. A. Bosworth.

      • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

        Sorry Mr Bosworth but I thought that you were already aware of our main website and our Sign-up poll which you will find by clicking on this link.
        The e-petition on HMG’s website was set up separately by an individual unconnected with us and with none of the supporting argument on our website and so not surprisingly it’s not getting the same popular attention within the UK as those e-petitions e.g. campaigning to bring back hanging or stripping convicted rioters of their welfare benefits!
        The petition to concentrate on is the one on our website and also on our Voting Rights blog, the latter to which you have been commenting.

  188. Damon OSBORNE says:

    Difficult and obscure to get to this point. Any cause less important I would have skipped the whole thing. (How many do?) Rethink the page the route the treasure hunt. MAKE IT EASY.

    • Seymour Anderson says:

      A very valid point. Because IT IS A VERY SERIOUS ISSUE I have also stayed the course to get to this point. Otherwise, a very informative web site.

  189. Sam Stokes France says:

    Why can’t we british have the same rights as the French? If they live abroad, they can still vote. We should be given the same option by the British government!

  190. Martin Richard Clowes says:

    Its about time the Ut up with the rest of Europe

  191. Robert and Margaret Springett says:

    My wife and I think that it is disgraceful that in this day and age we should be disenfranchised although we are still liable to UK Income Tax, just because we chose to spend our retirement in France.

  192. Brian Edwards says:

    Sorry should have said now in France

  193. Fred Adkins says:

    What do we expect from politicians?

  194. Brian Edwards says:

    We have been paying taxes in the England for over 40 years and now seem to be treated less favorably than new arrivals

  195. David Hart says:

    I fully support the right to vote for all expat British Citizens whether or not they pay UK tax. As mentioned earlier in this thread, there are numerous UK residents who would lose the right to vote if being a tax payer were a criteria.

  196. D.Rouse says:

    Have lived in France for 15 yrs, but have family, and invesments in the UK, apart from receiving the OAP, so are obviously affected by UK government decisions. Why on earth should we be disenfranchised after 15 years ?

  197. Alan Bell says:

    Whilst I personally choose not to vote in UK elections having lived in France for 9 years, I nevertheless totally agree that to deny any expat British citizen the right to vote in British elections after 15 years domiciled abroad, is nothing short of scandalous.

  198. A R W says:

    Votes — always used them in UK – and to be disenfrachised by a rule that has had not even been constant reeks of opportunism by the ruling parliaments.

  199. Vanessa says:

    Still paying buckets of tax in UK but don’t have the right to vote – madness!
    Presently France (and before that a long time expat)

  200. Max Bishop says:

    Agree fully with most of the above. The only factor that could perhaps legitimate removal of the right to vote from a UK Citizen (apart from crime, insanity…) is if a person is seeking, for tax- avoidance reasons, to establish “non-domicile” status, and is therefore systematically cutting all conceivable links with the UK. Otherwise, we all deserve and are entitled to our vote.


    • J. A. Bosworth says:

      I am currently trying to co-ordinate Swiss Expats who are agitating for the restoration of lifetime voting rights.
      Contact me by e-mail if you’re interested.
      j. A. Bosworth

  201. Peter Courtney-Green says:

    Thank heavens for this very useful and informative website, which at least gives us the chance to vent our impotent rage at the injustice of being denied the right to vote in our own country. Some respondents mentioned a link between paying taxes and having the right to vote, but it shouldn’t depend on that – otherwise millions of UK residents would also be disenfranchised. It should be enough that we are British citizens, wherever we live and whatever our personal circumstances.

  202. Sheila Bennett says:

    Bravo for taking the initiaive – we should be able to vote int he UK even after many years in France.

  203. Robin BAKER says:

    I am active in the Paris branch of a major UK political party, but am one of the very few members who can still exercise my right to vote in the UK as I last lived there in 2004. I find it appalling that many my friends, who devote so much of their time to working in support of their UK party and follow UK political affairs far more closely than the majority of UK residents, are denied this right. This must be changed and changed by the present government before the next general election.

    Robin Baker
    Country of residence, France

  204. Phil Dunbar says:

    I have voted in favour of changing the rules, mainly because I believe that the rules in general need to be changed. Personally, I am not particularly worried about not being able to vote in a country where I am not resident: I am more concerned about not having the right to vote for the government in the country where I pay my taxes (and therefore for those who spend them). I seem to remember a similar situation in the past regarding “no taxation without representation”…

  205. Amelia Jousseaume says:

    I fully agree and support. Country of Residence: France

  206. Graham Robertson says:

    Having served the UK for 20 years overseas in 2 different capacities, I am now faced with disenfranchisement because I have exercised my right to free movement in the EU, a right which the British Govt signed up to. I hold a UK passport, still pay taxes in UK and remain active in organizations which are UK-based and support those in UK who need help and assistance. In that respect I see myself as more of a member of the Big Society than many who live in the UK. In this day and age, the eligibility test for voting should not be merely geographical but based on involvement in UK life.

  207. Muriel How says:

    It is sad that we who grew up in England and loved the country, now find that time and again they do not recognize the many contributions people have given to the country. I donot see how they can – if they have a conscience – carry on denying the upgrading on a yearly basis to allpensioners living abroad.

  208. David Decker says:

    I have pushing this with central office and various visiting MPs and Luminaries. I hope we can get this achieved before I die!!!!

  209. Must be able to vote somewhere!!!

  210. Martin Robiette says:

    Great website. Keep up the good work.
    Country : France

  211. Vivienne Simmons says:

    The instructions on leaving e-mail address after voting are very unclear. I hope I’ve done it write.

    • right2vote4xpatbrits says:

      Hello Vivienne,
      Thank you for your vote. In fact to be able to leave your comment after you had voted, you had to enter your e-mail address and name in the mandatory information field above the “leave a reply” box.
      What we are interested in for statistical purposes only, is where you are resident and this from your e-mail address (.ca) appears to be California (?).

  212. John Crawford says:

    I also agree with all of the comments made, and I consider that Leandro Busto has grasped the precise criteria for expat voting. This eliminates the any possible differential between the locations of Expats and their rights, and will prevent a similar result that has been allowed to develop with pensions.
    I would also make mention of East Hampshire council in Petersfield, who have managed to get my postal votes out to rural France in ample time for their return for every election.

    Country of Residence: France

  213. Alan smith says:


  214. Voting should be unconditional and not just linked to those who pay UK taxes or not. It’s simple, if you hold a GB passport you should be able to vote back home in all elections. That would give about 12 million ex pats around the world a vested interest back in the UK.

  215. Agnes Blake says:

    Have lived in France for 20 years, the last 5 of which have been unable to vote.

  216. Francis Lea says:

    I agree with all of the above comments.
    United Kingdom.

  217. Catherine Dempsey says:

    They discuss voting rights for prisoners and seem to be quite happy to leave us expats disenfranchised. Scandalous!
    Country of Residence: France

  218. John Lloyd says:

    I fully agree. Not for the first time, the law is an ass.

  219. Suzanne M. Bailey says:

    Suzanne M. Bailey, Orange County, California, USA

  220. Professor Ian S Forrester QC says:

    Ian Forrester QC
    Brussels Belgium. I was active in the campaign to change the law the last time and we accepted a halfway solution which was the best we could then do. The world has moved on and the inequity of denying the franchise to Brits in the EU (especially) and the rest of the world has become more evident. There are many people who will live substantial periods outside their country of birth. I know of no truly principled reason for denying them the rigth to vote after they have been out of the Uk for fifteen years.

  221. Sophie Duverger says:

    I fully agree . All ex pats should have the right to vote.

  222. Alistair D. B. Cook says:

    I fully support the right of UK expats to vote.
    My country of residence is Singapore.

  223. Pamela Lake says:

    As usual Britain has to be different to most Western European countries in denying the vote to expats who have lived abroad for more than 15 years. This is typical British muddled thinking. We must get rid of this silly rule.

    Pamela Lake

  224. Terrance A. Miles says:

    Why should my rights be withdrawn after 40 years of paying all that was required of me in the UK just because I have chosen to retire to another EU country namely Spain? The freedom to move to another EU country to work without a work permit is a right for EU nationals but it would appear that the right to vote in any country is being removed by the UK government.

  225. Cerdic Warrillow says:

    Let us start the debate with the notion of a citizen’s basic human rights. One of these is surely the right to vote in one’s national general elections and in the case of the United Kingdom, the right of Britons to vote for British members to the European parliament. The United Kingdom is so proud of its democratic traditions, yet she continues to deny this right to thousands of her adult, sane and law-abiding citizens!

  226. Sophie Decaudaveine says:

    I have lived in France since 1987, but would dearly like to vote in the UK.

  227. As a former local government officer and university lecturer I pay my tax to the UK government. The current 15 year rule negates “no taxation without representation” for me and many others. I believe that this is wrong for this reason alone, but equally wrong for all ex-pats as we have no one to represent us either in the UK or our chosen country of residence.

  228. Richard Hart says:

    I live in Canada and voting rights would allow me to have my say about the UK Governments Unjust Frozen Pension policy that denies me an indexed pension just because I live in Canada!

  229. I quite agree with the above. We share the ‘no voting rights in any country’ status with prisoners serving a sentence of more than one year, not on remand (although this is about to change) and the certifiably insane.

  230. Maria del Mar Vazquez Casal says:

    ALL ex-pats should have the RIGHT to vote. I FULLY support this.
    My country of residence is SPAIN.

    • shrubsole says:

      We have lived away from UK for 11 years. Next election is our last. We have voted by Proxy since leaving UK. Like our Pensions we are suddenly Persona non grata. In other words Stateless Pariahs.
      Bernard and Christine Shrubsole

  231. William KP Kucera says:

    Across a whole range of issues the government is in effect disowning British expatriates- this needs to be addressed.
    Country of Residence: Switzerland and Singapore

  232. Michael Mackenzie-Smith says:

    I fully support the right to vote for all expat British Citizens who pay UK tax.

    • Cerdic Warrillow says:

      But millions of British citizens, including pensioners and students, living in the United Kingdom don’t pay taxes, but are nevertheless eligible to vote there! The payment of taxes is no pre-requisite for the enjoyment of basic human rights !

  233. Sally Ridley-Day says:

    Sally Ridley-Day
    I fully support the right to vote for all expat British citizens For those who continue to pay UK tax, the situation at present is ‘taxation without representation’ and undemocratic. The current law must be changed.
    Country of Residence France

  234. John Markham says:

    It is essntial that UK expats get full voting rights during their lifetime. Also please visit .

    John Markham
    Country of residence Canada

  235. Clare Shine says:

    Fully agree. Country of residence: France

  236. Pat Shadwell says:

    Pat Shadwell
    The fifteen year rule should withdrawn. After this time expats are totally disenfranchised. Cannot vote in England and cannot vote nationally in the country of their residence.

    • will says:

      I agree with the right to vote in UK elections for those who have neither renounced their British citizenship nor taken out dual citizenship. It seems unjust to me to deny the franchise both at home and abroad at the same time. I think it is different, however, for those holding dual citizenship to expect to vote in two nations.

    • Leslie Richford says:

      Just so. I have lived in Germany since the 1970s and am still only able to vote in local or European elections. Having heard that the Conservative government are rescinding the 15 year rule, I came here to see what is going on. Why would I, as a long-term EU citizen, not be allowed to vote in the “Referendum”? Because it is likely that I would vote for staying in??

  237. EDWARD BAGNALL says:

    Support should be given to this proposal to ensure that expats maintain a close link with Britain .

  238. Richard Kent - Spain says:

    Richard Kent – Spain. Silly 15 yr rule should never have been introduced. Blatent Labour politicing.

    • Peter Morris says:

      The 15 year rule for voting has been around a lot longer than when Labour was in power.

    • Cerdic Warrillow says:

      Previous Conservative governments also placed a time limit on the voting rights of British expatriates

    • Dick Smith says:

      When the Conservatives amended the Representation of the People Act in 1985 it was only 5 years.

      • J. A. Bosworth says:

        Given the efficiency of modern global communications, there is no rational justification for imposing any ban at all. In fact, such bans are fundamentally undemocratic. Many other countries authorise lifetime voting rights for their nationals. Is the UK so inept that it cannot find an effective way of doing so?. With voting turnout in the UK decreasing every election, it seems utterly perverse deliberately to exclude anyone who wants to vote.

      • alvisspeed25 says:

        I totally agree. Even they can’t fail to have noticed that the world in terms of communications is rather a different place from 1985.

  239. All ex pats from GB should be able to vote back home. This should be an unconditional ‘RIGHT’.

  240. Roy G Waters says:

    I, Roy G Waters, am currently resident in Spain. As I last lived in the UK in 1979 I am not permitted to vote despite the fact that I continue to have residences in the country and pay UK taxes. Similarly I am not allowed to vote at national level in any country of the world.

  241. Christopher Chantrey says:

    We must get this ridiculous law changed!
    Country of residence: France

    • Nick Berry says:

      I have now lived in Spain for 11 years. In 4 years time I will be disenfranchised, even though I am required by law to continue paying UK income tax (govt. pension), I will have no say in how my money is spent. This is a blatant abuse of democratic human rights.

      • Bernard and Christine Shrubsole says:

        We are in the same position as Nick Berry Though we live in Australia! Only allowed to be Temporary Residents! so no support or vote here.! Where do our taxes go?
        We are virtually Stateless and world Pariahs!!

    • Robin Hicks says:

      It is indeed a scandal – any mileage in the Court of Human rights? Any lawyer out there with a pro bono answer?
      Also live in France – but pay taxes in France and UK – a bit of a liberty methinks

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