Scottish expats are currently being denied the right to vote in the upcoming referendum on Scottish independence on the 18th September, 2014 but there is a potential legal challenge that the First Minister Alex Salmond may have acted illegally.
“Aidan O’Neill who is an expert in European law was asked by James Wallace a Dumfries born lawyer now based in London for legal advice on the matter. Mr O’Neill said that the rules that had been imposed by the First Minister could be overturned in court with a judicial review finding they violated the right of Scottish expatriates to enjoy freedom of movement under European Union law.”
Such a blanket ban on their voting rights goes far beyond the current 15-year-rule which excludes British expatriates from participating in UK national elections after 15 years abroad and could be considered disproportionate as well as restricting freedom of movement within the EU under European law.
The pressure then is building on all the main UK political parties to perhaps rethink their previous political calculations with respect to the British expatriate community, given the impact of referendums such as for Scottish Independence and UK membership of the European Union (EU) in which many are affected but deprived of their voting rights.
The Liberal Democrats are the first of the main political parties to publicly respond to this undemocratic situation in backing voting rights for expatriates.
The challenge for the other political parties is then how also to respond to the estimated 3 – 5 million potential voters in the expatriate part of the British electorate e.g. in their manifestos for the general election in 2015.
Help us to keep up the pressure by registering to vote via the Electoral Commission website www.aboutmyvote.co.uk and/or adding your vote here in support of our campaign to remove the 15-year-limit on our voting rights.