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Cat Smith Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities, Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs, Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons:
“To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, with reference to A democracy that works for everyone: British citizens overseas, a policy statement, published on 7 October 2016, whether increased staff time and resources were a criterion in determining the amount of additional funding to be provided to electoral registration officers in relation to the removal of the 15-year time limit on British citizens living abroad being able to vote in elections.”
Chris Skidmore Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Cabinet Office)
“British citizens living abroad retain strong links with the United Kingdom: they may have family here, and they may plan to return here in the future. Equally, there are many British citizens abroad who have fought for our country, dedicating their lives to our armed services. Their stake in our country must be respected. This Government will not deny them the opportunity to have their say in the way their country is governed. That is why we are committed to introducing votes for life for British citizens living abroad.
The Government estimates that a further 3 million British citizens resident overseas will be enfranchised under the ‘votes for life’ proposals set out in the policy statement published on 7 October 2016. The Government has made initial estimates of how many newly enfranchised overseas electors may register to vote, and will continue to further refine its estimates in light of new data as it becomes available.
The Government acknowledges that initial applications to register to vote from newly enfranchised overseas electors are likely to take longer to process than most other applications. This increase in staff time has been built into the Government’s estimates of the expected costs of this policy measure. The Government is currently seeking feedback from electoral administrators and others on the detail of its proposals and will review them if measures to streamline processes are identified.
The Government is committed to legislating to remove the 15-year rule before the 2020 general election.”
The Connexion, France’s English-Language Newspaper, reported on 2nd February, 2017 that:
“In a ‘White Paper’ on The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union, the government says: “We want to secure the status of EU citizens who are already living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in other member states, as early as we can”. “
A copy of the government’s “White Paper” referred to in the above Connexion article can be found here:
In the same issue The Connexion reports on a corresponding counter reaction as:
“Expat campaigners launched an ‘Alternative White Paper’, highlighting the situation of Britons in the EU and asking that strong reassurances be made before article 50 is triggered.”
A copy of this “Alternative White Paper” can be found here:
Continuing to remind the British government not to forget the planned “Votes for Life” legislation, despite the pressures of Brexit , here’s a detailed contribution from Susan Kubitz.
Susan is a long-term British expat working with her family in Germany who was shocked not to be allowed to vote in the EU Referendum, and begs the question of “without my vote, where is my identity as this sort of constructive British European?”
Reminding the British government not to forget the planned “Votes for Life” legislation, despite the pressures of Brexit, here are the latest comments on our sign-up poll from British expats on why they deserve the right to vote:
Richard Bower – 2 weeks ago
“I have lived and worked in France for 38 years, with a French wife and 3 bi-national, bi-cultural and bi-lingual children, of whom I am extremely proud. I have always felt that we were part of an open-minded, tolerant and progressive society, Europe, which allowed me to retain my culturally British identity whilst blending in to my French home. Stupidly I ignored the fact that being disenfranchised 23 years ago effectively put an end to my Britishness in terms of rights. Being European, it didn’t seem to matter. Brexit shows that it did. Belatedly, I now support the movement for votes for expat Brits. I wish I had done so many years ago.”
Jill Conway-Fell – 3 weeks ago
“I have lived and worked in Denmark since I was young, when I was employed at the British Embassy in Copenhagen, after which I was employed by The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Office for Europe.
It has been a source of irritation and anger that I lost my right to vote in the UK, in spite of the fact that I am a first-generation UK citizen, especially in view of the fact that citizens of numerous other EU Member States retain a lifetime vote in their countries of origin.
It is about time that we are granted a vote for life, putting us on an equal footing with others.
Brexit makes it even more imperative that our vote in the UK be restored.
As others have commented, a considerable number of retirees would vote Conservative, so please ensure that immediate action is taken.”
Del – 1 month ago
“Where’s our vote? As a passport holding UK expat whose life will be just as affected as anyone living in the UK then surely I and a couple of million others like me should have been eligible to vote! They omitted a couple of million very interested parties that almost certainly would have stopped this joke of a so called referendum in it’s tracks.
So, where is our vote?”
Despite its problems with Brexit, let’s hope the British government presses on with the “Votes for Life” bill to remove the 15-year-limit which deprives British citizens living overseas of their right to vote.
Giorgio Greening who was 16 when she left the UK has never voted in her country of birth but remains keenly interested in UK politics:
“I have lived in Germany since 1975 and have never voted in my life. I am not German, so I can not vote in German elections and I was 16 when I left the UK so I have never voted in the UK. I am keenly interested in UK politics and it is inexplicable that I can not not participate in the democratic process.”