Read this well argued, 5-point submission (from which extracts are given below) to the House of Lords All-Party Working Group on Overseas Voting from Margaret Hales , who has lived in Spain for nearly seven years and is a descendant of Emmeline Pankhurst the famous Suffragette.
- Firstly, there is no information given on British Government websites indicating that moving abroad will lead to disenfranchisement. It has been a secret well hidden from the unsuspecting British citizen.
- Mention has been made in Debates of the small number of people who actually take the trouble to register to vote. Who but the most committed will go through all the hoops to register to vote, knowing that subsequently that vote will be taken away?
- With the promise of a Referendum on membership of the European Union, those of us who will be most affected by the withdrawal of Britain from the Union ought to have the right to a democratic say in the Referendum. Under current legislation many, many people will be denied that vote.
- In Spain at least , English newspapers (from Britain) and English language newspapers (in Spain), together with BBC and other English language television are generally the way of life. And yet it continues to be said in both Houses and portrayed on British television that British people have little or no interest in British affairs.
- As Hansard and the Daily Mail readily reveal, there is a pejorative attitude to British
citizens who live abroad which denies the facts. In reality, the statistics show that most are of working age, scattered around the world employed in banking and finance,
insurance, education, engineering and technology. Many are actually working for
British companies- ‘batting for Britain’.
My ancestor Emmeline Pankhurst, in October 1908, in her speech at her trial at Bow Street Magistrates Court said
“I want you, if you can, […] to realise what it means to […] us. We are driven to do this, we are determined to go with this agitation, because we feel in honour bound. Just as it was the duty of your fore-fathers, it is our duty to make this world a better place […] than it is today.”
Like Margaret Hales in Spain, you can also show your support for removing the 15-year-limit on our overseas voting rights by writing to the All-Party Working Group on Overseas Voting as well as by adding your vote here in our on-line poll.