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Lib Dems in Europe welcome manifesto commitment to overseas voters

Liberal DemocratsBrussels and Europe Liberal Democrats - the party's European branch - have today welcomed a commitment by the party to address the issue of voting rights for British citizens abroad.

In their general election manifesto, published today, the Liberal Democrats commit to "exploring options to strengthen and simplify the voting rights of UK citizens living abroad and address disenfranchisement experienced by some."

The manifesto follows an earlier Lib Dem policy commitment, adopted at the party's 2014 spring conference as part of a policy on political reform, to "explore the viability of 'overseas' constituencies such as those used in some other European countries" and "seek EU-wide agreement on the basis of reciprocity to ensure that EU citizens who exercise their fundamental rights of freedom of movement within the EU do not find themselves disenfranchised."

Commenting, Giles Goodall, Chair of Brussels & Europe Liberal Democrats and the party's general election candidate for Wealden, said:

"Liberal Democrats are committed to strengthening voting rights for British citizens in the rest of Europe and beyond, including addressing the issue of disenfranchisement."

"Nobody should be denied the right to vote because of an arbitrary period of residence abroad if they continue to maintain strong professional, family, or financial links with the UK."

"The current 15-year rule for overseas voters is an anachronism - citizens abroad can stay in touch and engaged in British politics today as easily as those at home. We should bring our system in line with the rest of Europe, where 24 out of 28 countries allow their citizens abroad to keep their vote."

"This is particularly relevant for the 2.2 million Brits living in other EU countries, who depend on their EU right to free movement. This is a right that the Tories and Ukip would put at risk, along with our EU membership."


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