Our priority now is to hold the Conservative government to its manifesto promise to scrap the 15 year limit on overseas voting. Therefore, every Conservative MP needs to be lobbied e.g. by e-mail before the Queen’s Speech on 27 May (scroll down to our suggested text which is highlighted in bold).
A record number of overseas voters applied to register to vote at this General Election and it is now vital that the intention to put forward a bill on this issue is set out in the Queen’s Speech on 27 May 2015.
The 15 year limit must be scrapped and a more efficient voting system introduced before an EU Referendum takes place (see report below to the Electoral Commission on the non-arrival of voting papers and other aspects of the voting system):
If not, many overseas citizens resident in the EU will have no vote and no say on an issue that directly affects both their personal and professional status in their EU country of residence.
We do not want this manifesto promise shuffled off into the Government box of promises never opened. So what can you do to ensure that the scrapping of the 15 year rule appears in the Queen’s Speech?
Ideally, as a first step, every Conservative MP needs to be lobbied before 27 May with the suggested text as follows:
British Citizens Abroad: Votes for Life
Dear [Insert Name] MP,
David Cameron promised in the Conservative manifesto to “introduce votes for life, scrapping the rule that bars British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from voting”.
It is vital that the intention to put forward a bill on this issue is set out in the Queen’s Speech.
Moreover, it is vital that the Bill is passed before any EU referendum takes place so that all British citizens residing in the EU have a say in that referendum, particularly those working/resident in other EU countries, as their personal and professional status will be directly affected by the outcome.
Please pass this request on to the PM’s office now. And when this issue is debated, please support the right of British citizens to vote in the UK.
[Insert Name] Constituent
To make this process as efficient as possible, please follow these suggested guidelines:
- Look at the list of constituencies in red at the end of the report ( 1013 dossier-votes_BCave_180515 ) to the Electoral Commission. If you see your constituency is listed, this means this MP has already been contacted but it would be great if you could still contact that MP to reinforce the message.
- If your constituency isn’t listed, please let us know that, and that you will be contacting the relevant MP. If friends/family in the UK are also prepared to contact MPs on your behalf, let us know which MPs as well.
- In the case of either 1 or 2, let us know what you are doing by replying to Brian Cave at the email below with your name and Constituency. We will use this information to confirm and record how many MPs have been contacted.
- When writing to your MP, please copy/send an email based on the proposed message above and send it with a top priority indication to your MP.
- The list of MPs is to be found via the link below: Look up your constituency – even if you left it 20 years ago. Pressure must be put on the politicians to act in our interest. http://www.parliament.uk/mps-lords-and-offices/mps/
Brian Cave & Jane Golding
Send an email to Brian Cave at : email@example.com
Apparently it doesn’t matter who we write to in parliament. Apparently, they won’t pay attention to it. I just received this after I sent an email to various mps: “There is a strict parliamentary protocol that MPs only deal with their own constituents. Therefore please check that you have included your full postal address including your postcode and any other relevant details. If you have not done so please re-send your email. Your query will be dealt with as soon as possible, but please be aware we prioritise in order of urgency rather than when enquiries are received. ”
Since we are not officially constituents of anywhere, again our views cannot be heard: not by vote, not by letter. Great!
I think we’re ‘barking up the wrong tree’ approaching MPs for support. I’m not surprised they’re not really interested in issues (whatever they are) that past constituents may have. No doubt they’ve got enough of resident constituents’ problems to deal with. I note that the Votes for Life Bill was included in the Queen’s Speech pages 96-97 – nearly at the end of the list. I cannot believe that the government didn’t consider this bill to be included in at least the top 10 of bills to be introduced and before the EEC referendum. There’s got to be some political agenda that I’m not seeing!!! My thoughts are that the PM’s office should be targeted direct with any petition regarding this issue to get this bill moved up the list before the referendum. It’s critically important to those of us who have been living in the EEC for more than 15 years that we have a vote. Incidentally the current petition that is up and running is not at all user friendly. It doesn’t allow you to enter a postcode other than a UK one.
To date we understand that some 30 expats have already written to their MPs on this issue. Approaches have also been made via Labour International and directly to Harriet Harmon the acting Labour leader.
OK – perfect. So maybe the answer is to write to Labour to say that things change and the people voting abroad today, as opposed to 1985 when Thatcher first extended the franchise, are as likely to vote Labour, Liberal and whoever, as they are Conservative. Indeed, Labour lost out on my vote. I agree with Michael Cushing: It’s not for other British citizens to disenfranchise us; any time British policy has an effect on our jobs, our homes, our lives, we have an interest to protect these, which we do by voting.
I totally agree with Siobhan. I think the quicker an online petition is set up, the better. I’ve just spoken with Caroline Lucas’s office (we’re ex Brighton Pavilion Residents) and her assistant has asked me to e-mail Caroline. She, apparently, feels very strongly about this issue and will be lobbying for this 15 year rule to be changed. I think we just have to keep pestering and pushing.
Here’s an on-line petition with the same aim – voting rights in the EU referendum for all British citizens abroad – and already up and running and needing support.
Signed and forwarded! And absolutely Gaynor – we must keep pestering and pushing!
This letter should be changed, now that the bill is out, and to be voted on on Thursday. Can you not set up a change.org petition to get this blocked in the House of Lords? If we had enough signatures, presumably they would have to give it serious consideration.
The government does not have a majority in the House of Lords and so the Opposition peers, and particularly those from the Labour party, are already in a position to block this bill if Labour’s proposed amendment to extend the franchise to 16 – 17 year olds is not included. Given the government’s commitment in the Conservative party manifesto to extend the right to vote for life to all British citizens abroad, it then has the opportunity despite opposition from its Eurosceptic MPs to meet this manifesto commitment by amending the bill to include not just 16 – 17 year olds but also all British citizens abroad (or at least those resident within the EU) of voting age. On the benefits of a specific change.org petition at this stage, the problem remains that the Labour party has been against removing the 15-year-rule for British citizens voting from abroad and this would be the main obstacle to the House of Lords giving serious consideration to blocking the bill solely on the basis of this 15-year-rule restriction. It seems better then at this stage to wait and see how the opposition in the House of Commons, to the currently proposed franchise in the EU referendum bill, develops.
Still maintain that a Citizen of a democratic society / country ( ie Westminster MPs) has no right to disenfranchise another citizen of that society that being the Act2000 reducing 20 years to 15 years . Right to representation is in itself a principal right therefor all that is required is the removal of the 20 year to 15 years amendment RoP Acts , ‘for life ‘ is infering that there could / should be an alternative at the whims of Westminster MPs . Cynical : possible convoluted thinking by you know who is that by registering to vote one is agreeing to being connected to UK for a possible tax change that will come with DCs insistance that EU must be secondary to UK wishes BEWARE
It’s unfortunate that you have linked these issues: the right to vote is a fundamental issue with no political bias in any direction; the EU referendum is a political issue and the wording of your proposed letter provides a strong indication of how British expats should vote. I will be writing to “my” MP (I haven’t got one, of course) but in my own way.
The point of mentioning the EU referendum is that it provides one good reason why all British expats living within the EU should have the right to vote, since they are directly impacted by the result which ever way they might decide to vote.The political parties have already demonstrated political bias towards the right to vote of British expats, the Conservative party being for this right in their manifesto, the Labour party traditionally against. It’s up to you how you might choose to vote in this referendum.