Thanks to modern communications in today’s wired-up world, British citizens overseas, despite being disenfranchised after more than 15 years abroad, can remain informed on and concerned by, national and international issues impacting the UK. We would, therefore, agree with the argument of Kerry McCarthy, the Labour MP for Bristol East, that Constituents come first, but MPs should be concerned about national & international issues.
“……..but I know from my postbag that many constituents care a great deal about the environment and want someone to speak up about it in Parliament.”
“………And finally, there’s the international element of an MP’s work, which in my case is linked to my role as a shadow foreign office minister. What goes on in the wider world – the battle for human rights, an end to the arms trade, aid and trade for development – is important too, and if MPs aren’t taking these issues up, then who will?”
In a related post, Tim Finch in Brits abroad: How national pride can help us achieve progressive international goals, writing for LabourList in July, 2010, on the contribution of British citizens overseas adds:
“In our research we met many Britons who were innovative business people, who were active in their communities and who were keen to promote progressive goals, such as the extension of human rights and environmental sustainability. They had taken up opportunities overseas because they were adventurous, risk taking individuals who wanted to broaden their horizons. But they often identified the values that drove them as being in some sense ‘British values’ – though they also saw them as universal in their appeal”
Sharing the same British values and sense of pride in being British citizens as those who have chosen to stay-at-home, it seems perverse that the British government should continue to ignore the contribution of British citizens overseas by denying them the right to vote after 15 years abroad.