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Government delivering on pledge to give back British expats the right to vote

4801The UK government publishes its response to the consultation on the votes for life policy statement and commits to deliver a lifelong vote to British expats. 
 
The government will today (8 February) restate its commitment to ending the current 15 year time limit on British expats registering as overseas electors.
 
As well as removing a time limit on the right to vote for UK citizens living abroad, the government intends to enfranchise any British expats who was previously resident or registered to vote in the UK. This is part of the government’s wider ambition to strengthen the foundation of democracy and continually increase voter registration by ensuring every voter’s voice is heard.
 
Combined, these changes will mean millions of UK citizens overseas will be eligible to register to vote. British expats – under existing laws – have the lowest level of voter registration of any group.
 
The government published the policy statement “A democracy that works for everyone: British citizens overseas” in October 2016 asking for views on its detailed plans to introduce votes for life. It set out how it would scrap the rule that bars British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from voting in UK Parliamentary Elections, as set out in the government’s manifesto.
 
The response to the consultation about the votes for life policy statement will be published on GOV.UK today, ahead of the second reading debate in the House of Commons on 23 February of Glyn Davies MP Private Members’ Overseas Electors Bill.
 
The policy statement attracted a range of responses from the electoral community and the public.
 
Minister for the Constitution, Chloe Smith, said:
 
"Participation in our democracy is a fundamental part of being British, no matter how far you have travelled from the UK. It is right that we should remove the 15-year time limit on voting rights of British citizens living overseas and allow those who previously lived in the UK the chance to participate in our democracy.
 
"Expats retain strong links with the United Kingdom: they may have family here, and indeed they may plan to return here in the future. Modern technology and cheaper air travel has transformed the ability of expats to keep in touch with their home country.
 
"Following the British people’s decision to leave the EU, we 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."

Comments  

+2 #8 Peter Booker 2018-02-15 09:49
Quoting dw:
Did they make any commitment as to when they would implement this, or is this just another false promise of jam tomorrow?


This legislation will be difficult for a weak Conservative government because the government is opposed to reducing the voting age to 16; and the opposition peers have made it plain that this concession will form a part of a quid pro quo. There will have to be some horse trading behind the scenes. But I expect this part of the government programme to be the least important to Mrs May.
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+1 #7 dw 2018-02-14 23:10
Did they make any commitment as to when they would implement this, or is this just another false promise of jam tomorrow?
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+2 #6 Mike Towl 2018-02-14 07:49
Regardless if it is Daily Mail, National Enquire or The Beano pushing this, Ed is spot on. Lifer Ex-Pat residents of Portugal are disenfranchised, not being able to vote anywhere. This legislation is long over due.
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+6 #5 Ed 2018-02-13 16:43
Quoting Margaridaana:
Why should someone who has lived in another country for twenty or more years have a vote in their country of birth. They have changed their domicile and effectively become citizens of a different country. It is in that country of residence that they should have their vote and this is where Portugal falls down. If one is truly resident in another country then voting in their birthplace is of little importance.
Many would be quite happy to be allowed to vote for an MP in their country of domicile. This is not allowed in many countries, Portugal among them, and hence hundreds of thousands of emigrant British within the EU are denied the vote - that's what this is all about.

Brussels need only have made one simple change and the debates, protests, hours of correspondence and parliamentary time would not have been necessary.
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0 #4 Den Williams 2018-02-13 15:14
The Daily Mail mainly targets middle aged professional women - expats may be caught reading it due to the lack of anything else suitable. For in depth quality analysis on all the tooings and frooings of Brexit the online Daily Express (DE) is the must read. Portuguese MEP "Goebbels" Gomes had been a regular commenter until the DE was alerted to the reality that, being Portuguese, none of her posts were actually at all useful to the UK. Now DE is hammering back at "Napoleon" Barnier who wants to finish off what his Emperor attempted until he met his Waterloo. Likewise Jerry wants a similar result, to crush the British,. to make up for previous slap downs.
For EU health and safety reasons we British cannot any longer use bayonets on these troublemakers - but we can VOTE ! So VOTE early and VOTE often.
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-6 #3 Margaridaana 2018-02-13 14:37
Why should someone who has lived in another country for twenty or more years have a vote in their country of birth. They have changed their domicile and effectively become citizens of a different country. It is in that country of residence that they should have their vote and this is where Portugal falls down. If one is truly resident in another country then voting in their birthplace is of little importance.
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-1 #2 Peter Booker 2018-02-13 13:08
Atlasfrog may be mistaken. One of the best selling British newspapers overseas is the Daily Mail. Its views are firmly pro-Brexit. I suspect that many older ex-pat residents both buy and even read the Daily Mail, and agree with Brexit.
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+4 #1 Atlasfrog 2018-02-13 09:36
:sad: If the government had done this earlier, as requested, there would have been a different Brexit result. Shame!!!
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