In an interesting parallel with the legal position concerning the current 15-year-law which removes the national right to vote for British citizens after 15 years abroad, the law report below from The Times of December 30, 2014 describes why the statutory ban on convicted prisoners in the Scottish independence referendum was found by the UK’s Supreme Court to be not unlawful.
Such a judgement could also apply to any future referendum on Britain’s continuing membership of the European Union. However, perhaps there is some encouragement in the last paragraph of the article which states that two out of the five judges gave judgements dissenting on the issue of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Although “His Lordship had no difficulty in recognising the right to vote as a basic or constitutional right [of common law]”………… “It was not appropriate for the courts to develop the common law in order to supplement or override the statutory rules which determined the democratic franchise”………… “In his Lordship’s view, there was no separate argument that the rule of law encompassed a universal right to vote”.
The conclusion then is that this voting rights issue remains firmly with the legislators in the Westminster Parliament “to develop the common law” and a lot more British expatriate citizens need to register to vote in order for them to listen. Help us to reach that first target of 100,000 registered overseas voters by registering on-line on the British government website www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.