War veteran Harry Shindler, who has been campaigning for many years to abolish the “15-year rule” which blocks millions of Britons overseas from voting in UK elections, has been left disappointed by a letter from Downing Street.
“He hoped that with support from the Liberal Democrats, the Coalition Government might lift the ban ahead of next year’s election, rather than after it.
But he was told in the letter that there are no plans to rush the legislation through. That means that, even if the Tories win power next year and change the law, long-term expats, many of them elderly, will have to wait until the following general election, scheduled for 2020, before they can vote for a member of parliament.
Mr Schindler wrote to the Prime Minister, David Cameron, to tell him that with early legislation, he would show his gratitude by campaigning for expats across Europe to help keep Britain in the European Union.”
However, it is estimated that of the 5 – 6 million British expatriates worldwide, some 50% are not yet excluded by this 15-year-rule and, therefore, could still register to vote.
If you are British and resident abroad for less than 15 years, why not conveniently register on-line here to vote in the May 2015 General Election? The target is to raise expatriate voter turnout to some 70,000 – 100,000 or more, to significantly exceed the equivalent of an average sized UK constituency.
The issue of the extremely low turnout rate for British expatriate voters (historically in the range of only 20,000 – 30,000 or 1% of those still qualified to vote), has most recently been addressed by Roger Casale of New Europeans when giving oral evidence on Voter Engagement to the Political & Constitutional Reform Committee in the House of Commons on Monday 13th October, 2014. (Scroll down to second half of hearing).