We are grateful for the supporting article below in the April, 2013 edition of The Connexion, English language newspaper in France.
Through interviews with French MPs representing French expatriates, the article compares and contrasts the differing interpretations of democracy in France and the UK with regard to their respective citizens living abroad.
The major difference is that however long abroad the French expatriate faces no loss of voting rights and has access to an MP responsible for a non-French-based constituency.
In contrast, the British expatriate is left with no representation after 15 years abroad, apart from recourse to ambassadorial or consular staff. However, these are there to help with problems in the country of residence and not with those concerning British legislation and its often unforeseen outcomes for British expatriates e.g. a referendum on continuing UK membership of the European Union (EU).
To compound the effects of this lack of representation the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, faced with budget restrictions, has been closing its Consulates and running down staff levels at Embassies.
If you sense this lack of representation of your interests as a British expatriate, agree that policy created in the UK can have a direct impact on the lives of British citizens overseas or think that you should have the democratic right to have your say, why not add your vote here in support of our campaign to remove the 15-year-limit on your voting rights?
If you have lived outside the UK for less than 15 years, ensure that you still have the democratic right to have your say by registering to vote via the Electoral Commission’s website www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.