Categories to browse+5 million British Expats Abroad 100000 Overseas Voters All EU Brits Need Voice Anomaly of Voteless Expat Brits in EU Benefits of Internet Voting Diaspora is National Resource Electoral Commission Electoral Reform & Overseas Voter Reg. EU Ref. & Votes for Life Bills EU Ref. excluded British Expats React EU Ref: Overseas Electors - Counter Arguments EU Ref Question - Lord Lexden 6 July 2015 EU Ref Votes for Life Response European Court of Human Rights Expat Vote in 2015 Expat Voter Registration French Expat Voters French Inspire 1 million Overseas Voters Harry Shindler Harry Shindler's Human Right to Vote Harry Shindler Presses PM. Harry Shindler vs UK IER for Overseas Voters. Improving Overseas Reg/voting Rates Lord Lexden-Overseas Voter Discrimination Military Covenant Neglected overseas voters Outdated Objections to Voters Overseas Overseas Voter Turnout:UKvsUS Voting Rights
Let’s hope that the British government is not so diverted by Brexit that its planned “Votes for Life” bill, which will remove the 15-year-limit on our voting rights, fails to become law within the 5-year term of the current parliament which ends in 2020.
As Richard Scivier comments below, “the 15-year time limit rule we have in the UK has badly affected those working overseas and in the EU – these people are most affected by the results of the EU referendum.”
Richard Scivier comments on our Sign-Up poll:
I am now retired and living in the UK, having returned to the UK in 2008. I am however in contact with former colleagues in the countries where I have worked as an English teacher (France, Spain, Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia). Some who are married to overseas spouses are seriously considering taking up citizenship of their spouses and children.
The 15-year time limit rule we have in the UK has badly affected those working overseas and in the EU – these people are most affected by the results of the EU referendum. The present government says it is considering removing the time limit rule, but that is too late for the last referendum and the results unless there is a second EU referendum.
Countries like Spain and France do not have the time limit rule for their citizens and can vote wherever they are living. Indeed France has a deputy for all French citizens living in Northern Europe, which means mostly the UK!
Extracted from an article “The EU Referendum Decision” by Robin Baker, a British expat living in Paris:
“However for me, and I must confess that as an expatriate I am biased in this respect, the worst feature of the referendum was the fact that expatriates of more than 15 years standing were denied the vote.”
“The Conservative Party had promised expatriates votes for life and the Government had over a year to prepare and table legislation to correct this injustice. Alternatively, the referendum could have been delayed until they were ready.”
“The new minister, Chris Skidmore, was appointed Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office on 17 July 2016. His Policy Statement announcing details of the intended Votes for Life Bill was made at the Conservatives Abroad conference on 6 October, i.e. less than three months later.”
“This timing can only mean either that Skidmore achieved within less than three months what it was impossible to do between the general election on 7th May 2015 and the referendum on 23rd June 2016, or that the paper was already prepared and ready before his appointment, i.e. before the referendum, but not released.”
“Either way I now have no doubt that the failure to table the Votes for Life Bill prior to the referendum was deliberate in order to help the Brexit side win.”
“The Government is to announce on Friday that it will scrap the 15-year limit after which more than three million Britons living overseas lose their right to vote.”
“Following the British people’s decision to leave the EU, we now need to strengthen ties with countries around the world and show the UK is an outward-facing nation.
“Our expat community has an important role to play in helping Britain expand international trade, especially given two-thirds of expats live outside the EU.”
Here’s the link (with thanks to Dominic McGrath) to the related government overseas elector policy statement
Quoting from an article in The Times of 24th September, 2016
“Millions more Britons living abroad will be entitled to vote in the next general election after Theresa May committed to changing the law before 2020.”
“Harry Shindler, a Second World War veteran [and campaigner for expat voting rights] ……said that he received the assurances in a letter from Downing Street dated September 19.”
“The letter from an assistant private secretary to Mrs May said: “Plans to remove the 15-year time limit on overseas voting rights were set out in the government’s election manifesto in May 2015.”
“This will be delivered by means of a government bill once policy details have been finalised.”
“The government said that it was making steady progress on the issue.”
Note: The article is a bit out of date with its figure of 20,000 for the actual number of expats registered to vote, when over 113,000 were registered for the 2015 general election and considerably more (final figures awaited from the Electoral Commission) for the EU Referendum in June of this year.
In his last post as Director of LSE’s Centre for Economic Performance, John Van Reenen gives his verdict on the Brexit campaigns, the media, politicians, and being a derided expert.
“The referendum was won on a drumbeat of anti-foreigner sentiment. It’s the same tune being played by demagogues in every corner of the globe. It’s the same tune that was played in the 1930s. It’s the same old beat that rises in volume when people are afraid. In the UK, it’s echoed by a rabidly right-wing press and unchallenged by a flaccid establishment media. Mixed by a band of unscrupulous liars and political zealots, it has become a tsunami of bile that has downed and drowned a once great nation. The only question is which other countries will now be swept along in this poisonous flood.”