Last year the Tory government announced it would introduce a bill to scrap the unpopular 15-year-limit on expat voting rights in time for the next general election.
But after Conservative PM Theresa May made the shock announcement on Tuesday that she planned to hold a snap election on June 8th, it’s clear the limit will not be ditched in time, meeting tens of thousands of longterm expats living in France and around the world will not get a vote again.
British citizens living abroad who had successfully campaigned against the 15-year-rule for many years will no doubt be furious at the thought of not having a vote once again, despite being promised it.
Many long term British expats were angry at not having a vote in the 2015 general election and in particular the momentous 2016 Brexit referendum which directly impacted them.
The conservative government had included a pledge to scrap the 15-year-limit in its 2015 election manifesto and last year announced the “votes for life” bill would be drawn up.
I have just e-mailed the Embassy about this. In theory, the 15-year rule for long-term expats is still in force. https://t.co/Jqf73A3c8G
— Matthew Bennett (@matthewbennett) April 18, 2017
Announcing plans to lift the 15-year rule in October last year, Chris Skidmore, the constitution minister, said: “This statement shows how we will introduce “votes for life”.
“British citizens who move abroad remain a part of our democracy and it is important they have the ability to participate.
“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.”
Brits who are eligible to vote must make sure they are on the electoral roll and apply for a postal vote.