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.”