Here’s a personal guest posting of support from Erika Angelidi, the Conservatives Abroad Representative in Greece, on the right to vote for British expatriates:
Ιn view of the 23rd February 2018 when the Overseas Electors Bill successfully passed its second reading in the UK Parliament, I wish to express some personal thoughts regarding the issue of the right to vote for Expatriates.
I personally believe that each British citizen who resides outside of the UK, even for a longer period of time, does not cease to be interested in the present or future of the UK. He is of British citizenship and this is something that he carries throughout his life. To refuse the right to vote to a UK citizen based on the date where he left the country to live elsewhere is equal to being cast off. This argument does not reflect emotions alone, it goes deep into the connection of the mother country and its people, the very bond of citizenship.
Besides this, a question of properly exercising civil and political rights is raised. It must be noted that each Party that is voted to power decides on, promotes and applies different policies regarding its citizens who live abroad. In view of this fact, it is obvious that a citizen living abroad must be able to vote in favour of the party that best represents his interests as a British citizen and as an Expatriate.
Let us hope that this Bill will eventually be brought into Law and provide that all British citizens living abroad will have the right to vote regardless of the time they stopped having residence in the UK. British Expatriates are a part of British society and contribute to its dynamic and welfare. Expatriates deserve to vote for life!
Conservatives Abroad Representative,
As an expat living in Canada, I, and tens of thousands of others, am more than interested in getting votes for life if only to vote tactically to get the same pension uprating that 96% of other UK pensioners do.
In her end of year letter to Conservatives Abroad, Theresa May only seemed interested in talking about ‘getting a good deal for expats living in the EU and guarding their rights etc. post Brexit’ That says an awful lot more about what she thinks of the rest of us outside of Europe, we don’t get a mention to go along with many of us not getting annual pension uprating.
You are right to be pushing for the same indexed pension rights as those British citizens currently resident in other EU member states. These pension rights under EU law are maintained in line with those of British citizens in the UK but are now under threat from Brexit given the example of Canada.
Thank you for this support and expressing my identical opinions.We are shamefully treated. Frank and Bianca Woods, Stresa,Italy
I thank Erika Angelidi for her well reasoned argument in her today’s posting. However, as a British expat who does not understand parliamentary technicalities and procedure, I do not really understand why the “vote for expats” issue became subject of a private members’ bill when the Conservative party, prior to the 2015 elections, had already undertaken in their party manifesto to abolish the 15 year exclusion rule if they won the election and then, after winning the election, crucially (and shamefully) neglected to do so in time for the 2016 EU referendum or for the June 2017 elections. Given this undertaking seems to be going nowhere, can someone please tell if we are now having to rely on the private members’ bill to obtain the vote and, if so, what are the next steps and the time scales.
Andrew Charles Dawson
The next step is the committee stage with a date yet to be announced. The link below gives more information on the various stages.
You make a good point questioning why this is still a private member’s bill. It’s a question of priorities for the government which has to choose those most likely to be successful considering its small majority, which depends upon the Ulster Unionists. Given the historical Labour position of opposing votes for expats and until the government decides to officially sponsor this bill (with its majority of MPs behind it), further progress as a private members bill could be difficult.
Thank you for your prompt reply.
Well put. And the fact that successive Governments can simply change the right to vote is disgraceful – it should be enshrined in law.