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.
Even for those expats who are entitled to vote, it is practically nearly impossible to cast their vote unless they vote by proxy, or travel to the UK in person, or live so close to the UK that their postal vote arrives and is returned within a few days. The current system of postal votes being sent out about five days prior to election day excludes the vast majority expats.
Voting from abroad at the moment is nearly impossible
Farcical “carry on” Westminster Gov . Who pays £s for the Supreme Court , who pays £s for the civil servants who employ lawyers to argue the human right contradictions created by ? yes Westminster – £s and jobs’ for the boys’ in Westminster . The interesting parallel legal position re convicts in Scotland is not correct vis ” our” 15 year disenfranchisement rule . Although the convicts loss of right to representation in Scotland ‘ case’ was on the specific loss of right to registration to vote re Scots Referendum the voting law is not made in Scotland it is made in Westminster – the UK possible referendum in / out EU is the same legislation regards all voting registration not just referendums . therefor the next specific loss by a citizen to register to vote is this years UK National Election .The Supreme court judges are well aware of the legal tangle that UK Gov . creates and will find a way of judgement that cannot stick on the floor of “UK Parliament” The unfortunate consequence was for the Scots Gov. to have signed to accept an independence referendum under the conditions of voting rights RoP 1983 – local Gov.Act Scotland – made by Westminster ! – this act EXCLUDED ( in consequence ) all Scots citizens / nationals who were not territoraly resident in Scotland on the last day of registration ( which in itself has created a demand for redress and clarification along with current challenges re Scotlands lawfull territory the latter in front of Supreme court at present !!) Therefore re UK /EU in out only UK resident nationals should have a vote only – ‘under 15 year rule’ UK citizens overseas who are registered to vote will have no right – even under EU Law .It all highlights the ongoing UK Gov ‘carry on’ series . I believe the legal challenge is simply – do Westminster MP’s / lords (who are UK citizens) have the right to exclude another UK Citizen from right to reprsentation ?