Lord Lexden Success : All Party Inquiry on Overseas Voting Rights.

The 23rd of January, Lord Lexden returned with some success to the Overseas Voting Rights question, at the House of Lords Committee report stage of the Electoral Registration & Administration Bill (ERA). There is final recognition that this issue is now firmly on the political agenda and should be pursued via an all-party inquiry.

ERA Bill am 2 – Lords debate, 23 Jan 2013

Lord Wallace of Saltaire in responding on behalf of the government and encouraging Lord Lexden to withdraw his amendment:

  • Thanked Lord Lexden “for ensuring that the government will take a more active approach to this consideration [of British citizens living abroad] from now on”.
  • Recognised “that he [Lord Lexden] has made his mark on the government”.
  • Suggested that Lord Lexden “should pursue the question of an all-party inquiry into the rather neglected area [of our overseas citizens], not leaving everything to the government here”.

In withdrawing his amendment, Lord Lexden was “extremely interested in that suggestion [of an all-party inquiry] ……[and] I will seek a meeting with him [Lord Wallace] about how that might proceed. On the face of it, an all-party inquiry is extremely attractive”.

“Many in this House will share my strong hope that many more expatriates eligible to register under the existing 15-year-rule will exercise their right, as consideration continues to be given to the removal of that rule [since] the issues are firmly on the political agenda”.

(To find out more about registering, you can go to www.aboutmyvote.co.uk )

For the Opposition, Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town once again resorted to the party political funding issue by citing the still-not-in-force, Political Parties and Elections Act 2009, Section 10 of the Act which:

“prohibits a registered party from accepting a donation of more than £7,500 in any year from a UK national living abroad and on the electoral register, unless they become resident in the UK and pay UK income tax……..Therefore, if overseas electors were able to stay on the register for longer than 15 years, they would remain permissable donors for as long as their wealth held out. For this reason – if  for no other – we could not support the amendment”.

You can also increase the visible number of expatriates supporting removal of  the 15-year-rule by adding your vote here in our on-line poll.


This entry was posted in +5 million British Expats Abroad, Anomaly of Voteless Expat Brits in EU, Benefits of Internet Voting, Brain Drain Voting Link, Diaspora is National Resource, Electoral Commission, Electoral Reform & Overseas Voter Reg., French Inspire 1 million Overseas Voters, Lord Lexden Continues Challenge, Lord Lexden-Overseas Voter Discrimination, Lord Lexden: All-Party Inquiry, Lord Lexden: Reasons to Remove 15 yr Limit, Voting Rights and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Lord Lexden Success : All Party Inquiry on Overseas Voting Rights.

  1. Pingback: Liberal Democrats Call for Expat Brit Voting Rights | Votes for Expat Brits blog

  2. Pingback: World Expat Population | Votes for Expat Brits blog

  3. Stuart Smith says:

    As Peter Courtney-Green states above it is a ludicrous suggestion from Baroness Hayter about British citizens being denied a vote so as to stop them making a contribution to any party.
    Most of the expats are still British passport holders and do not wish to give up their citizenship or their nationality. That is the reason for us asking to be fairly treated as regards to our voting rights.
    I still do not understand why it was removed in the first place. I may live abroad but it does not make me less of a British national, in fact it makes me support my nation even more. It is a pity that some people are so very negative over expats and do not recognise how much good we do for Great Britain & NI. We are if nothing else unpaid ambassadors of Great Britain & NI whilst we live outside of our homeland. Some members of the expat community are not being treated fairly as regards to pensions and pension rights, even when they have contributed fully to the UK’s rules & regulations.
    So as Baroness Hayter tried to infer that we are rich and may wish to donate monies to political parties, is so far from realitity and the truth. In my case, I probably pay more taxes in the land I live in than if I was back in the UK. So my request is to all, give the expats the right to vote in all our elections, we deserve this right that you all take for granted.

  4. Peter Courtney-Green says:

    Well done, Lord Lexden. Let’s hope that the rather vague suggestion of an all party inquiry was meant sincerely and wasn’t just a way of shutting him up. I’m gobsmacked by the ludicrous suggestion by Baroness Hayter that millions of British citizens should be disenfranchised to prevent a few of them making large annual donations to the Conservative Party (I assume that’s who she had in mind). The most idiotic statement I’ve read in a long time… or am I missing something?

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