The current call for evidence on voting, consular and statistics for the British government’s review of the balance of competences between the UK and the European Union, has drawn the response below from Catherine Piper (scroll down) , effectively a “doubly-disenfranchised” Scot resident in France.
If you are not yet disenfranchised by the 15-year-rule, shouldn’t you be making sure that you will be able to vote in the next General Election in May, 2014 by registering via the Electoral Commission website?
Page 16 (Disqualifications from voting: long-term overseas residents) of the Voting_Consular_and_Statistics_Joint_Call_for_Evidence_FINAL document refers to the current status of the 15-year-rule as challenged via the European Court of Human Rights by Harry Shindler at the time i.e. :
“4.30 The UK Government will keep the 15 year time limit under consideration, but is not minded at present to change the law. It successfully defended an action brought by a UK citizen living in Italy for over 15 years in the ECtHR who ruled that there had been no violation of Article 3 of Protocol 1 by the UK and that the UK had legitimately confined the parliamentary franchise to those citizens who had a close connection to the UK and who would therefore be most directly affected by its laws.”
Catherine Piper below feels directly affected by the 2014 Scottish independence referendum and the proposed EU referendum in 2017, don’t you?
“My husband and I are members of the France-Nord branch of the Royal Naval Association. We have lived in France for 23 years as residents but are not able to vote in either France or the UK. In France because we are not citizens and in UK because we are not residents.
My immediate concern is with the coming referendums which will have an enormous effect on our future, and in which we have no voice. We are British citizens and I am a Scot who is proud to be British and have no wish to exchange my British passport for a Scottish one. Our rights as French residents depend on our membership of the European Union.
The Scottish vote will be decided by thousands of foreign residents whose present nationality will remain unchanged whatever the result of the vote. On the other hand, Scottish people, resident or ex-pat, may lose their right to be British.
Your documents refer to voters, electors, citizens and residents and I think one of the first requirements is for the EU countries to decide where these lines are drawn as they affect not only voting rights but laws of inheritance, taxation, benefits and numerous other aspects of life. There is also the question of domicile which seems to be open to different interpretations.
Meanwhile I remain disenfranchised and, depending on other people’s votes, could find myself no longer a citizen of the United Kingdom or a member of the European Union. Both of these referendums exclude thousands of people who are directly affected by the results which is unfair and undemocratic.”
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I have many bloggs on REPRESENTATION OF THE PEOPLES Acts – UK citizens -the lawful instrument to enable the Electoral Commission / Electoral Registrars TO PERMIT UK CITIZENS THE RIGHT TO REGISTER TO VOTE . Democracy is a word that should be removed from the UK language . Harry’s efforts to SHAME the Westminster Establishment / Crown Offices by following the ONLY (?) lawfull process to redress the UNDEMOCRATIC ACTIONS of the UK Establishment have FAILED . PM Blair brought in ” Assemblies” for the Union Act States Scotland, Wales, Ireland ( now Ulster only ) Excluding England – to enable Ulster to ‘move on’ . Unfortunetly the Westminster Establishment could not allow this intention of PM Blair to mature without direct intervention to NAMELY control the possible Scots Independence ( Westminster has feard this since the 1950’s ) . So establish a ‘Supreme Court’ to negate N.Irish / Scots High Courts RIGHT . Introduce the Political Parties ,Election, Referendum Act 2000 ( all UK jurisdictions ) NOTE page 141 Miscelaneous amend 20 years to 15 years – overseas voting by the way !!! I cannot work out why 650 MP’s on arriving in London then turn their backs on the UK CITIZENS they are supposed to represent . IF THEY BELIEVE IN DEMOCRACY then surely THE PRIMARY ISSUE IS THE RIGHT TO REPRESENTATION OF UK CITIZENS the rest .is a smoke screen – Electoral Commissions campaign to encourage overseas voters , Balance of compenteces Review . I am EXILED by the UK Gov / Establishment – disenfranchised . ALL THE UK Gov. MP’s NEED TO DO IS ACT – ATTACH TO THE NEXT BILL ( ANY SUBJECT ) PASSING THROUGH WESTMINSTER UNDER MISCELANEOUS ” amend Representation of the Peoples Act 1985 ;- amended 1989 overseas UK Citizens rights; – amended political Parties Elections Referendum Act 2000; ( unlawfully in my book ) to ALL UK CITIZENS HAVE THE RIGHT TO REPRESENTATION , The domocile / non UK domiciled UK Citizens rules left as is – register where domiciled in Uk or at last UK electoral registration office non UK domiciled citizens . SO SO SIMPLE ?? Hopefully all above will be irelevent after referendum 2014 for me at least !!!
I fully agree with all comments above. I have lived in Germany for 28 years, but still have close links with the UK, and Scotland in particular. I own property in Scotland which we rent out as a holiday cottage and thus pay tax. We also intend to return to Scotland once we retire. Like those above I am disenfranchised and do not consider this just. Why do I not have the right to contribute towards a say in the future of my country, whether we are talking about the Scottish independence referendum or a potential Uk referendum on membership of the EU? Ann Stewart-Bendorf
I agree 100%. How can it be correct, as per above. that Article 3 of Protocol 1, state “that the UK had legitimately confined the parliamentary franchise to those citizens who had a close connection to the UK and who would therefore be most directly affected by its laws.” This still affects us. as living in Spain, even though we do have close connection with the UK ie my husband still pays tax on his retired police pension, we still have a bank account and most importantly we still have out children and grand children still living in the UK who we visit 2 and 3 times a year. Although having been able to vote and registered to vote in the 2 previous elections, we never received the postal voting papers and still to this day haven’t even though we receive all other UK post. On contacting the local council, back in the UK, all they could say was that they were posted out and therefore there was nothing they can do. We now wait with baited breath as to whether we receive them for the Euro elections. We have received a letter confirming that we are registered to vote, again, but wonder if we will actually receive them.
Everything else as already been said with regards to the referendum etc etc but unfortunately the UK government are still not listening and are ignoring their citizens.
I also fully agree. Particularly the conditions for the Scottish referendum are a complete political manipulation sanctioned not only by Alex Salmond but also most surprisingly by David Cameron.
It is an absolute scandal that Scots in the rest of the UK and abroad are being excluded from such a grave step. Also, why should non-UK citizens resident in Scotland have a say in whether Scots south of the border, or abroad for more than 15 years, can remain UK and EU citizens?
All this, plus of course the disfranchisement of all of us UK citizens abroad for more than 15 years, are abundant proof that the UK IS NOT A DEMOCRACY. I wonder what the attitude of Her Majesty the Queen is on this? Particularly as both Alex Salmond and Davis Cameron have stated they would implement the result of the referendum, even though they may not be obliged to do so.
I was also excluded, like hundreds of thousands, from voting in the 1976 referendum on continued UK membership of the European Communities, while my very livelihood and that of my family depended on it.
Incidentally the text of paragraph 4.30 of the ￼paper on the balance of competences review mentions Harry Schindler’s case at the ECHR and the victorious statement that it was won by the UK Government, stating in effect that Harry Schindler must have diminished contact with the UK after his more than 15 years abroad, only mentioned his name in a footnote and ignored the obvious fact that if he brought the case in the first place his contacts with the UK must have remained strong. It also ignores the UK’s recent award of the MBE to Harry.
Perhaps HMG would like to explain how it reconciles all this?
Couldn’t agree more. As a British citizen who has been living in Austria for 20 years I am also disenfranchised: can’t vote in Austria because I’m not a citizen (although I am naturally “allowed” to pay copious amounts of tax!) or in UK because I’ve lived abroad for over 15 years. And now I won’t be allowed a say in the EU referendum, the outcome of which may have severe consequences for my own rights and future and those of my 4-year-old daughters, who have dual nationality.