British expats to recover voting rights

Pedro Gonçalves
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British expats to recover voting rights

Boris Johnson has pledged that expats living abroad for over 15 years will recover their voting rights.

The news came in a letter personally signed by UK prime minister to campaigner Harry Shindler who has fought for more than 20 years to see Britons overseas gain the right to vote.

Cited by the Sun, the PM's letter to Schindler said: "Now we have left the EU, it is more important than ever to strengthen the UK‘s ties with the British expat community wherever they might be."

Now we have left the EU, it is more important than ever to strengthen the UK‘s ties with the British expat community wherever they might be"

Schindler, 99, who fought in WW2 and then retired to Italy where he now lives said:"This is a great victory for all of us patriotic Brits who have campaigned for years to get the vote back.

"The PM has assured us that we will be allowed to vote on the next election even if we have lived abroad for more than 15 years."

His only hope is that he can make it to the next election "given that I am 100 soon".

The government is committed to scrapping the arbitrary rule that prevents British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from participating in UK parliamentary elections.

"Most British citizens overseas retain deep ties to the United Kingdom. Many still have family here, some will return here, others are drawing a British pension after a lifetime of hard work and some, including yourself, have fought for our country," the letter said.

"Given those strong links, British expats have a right to influence decisions on foreign policy, trade and many other issues that directly affect their lives.

"We will be making an announcement on plans to deliver votes for life in due course and I would like to thank you for your steadfast campaigning on this issue, as well as the brave service you have given our country."

However, for many Britons living in towns and villages across Europe, the stroke of the clock at 23h00 on 31 January 2020. meant losing the right to vote and run for office, with Brexit acting as an electoral guillotine on those privileges.

From being active participants in the communities where they have sunk roots and pay taxes, British expatriates in France, Germany and elsewhere in the European Union will suddenly find themselves on the outside, with no say.

 

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