Brits in France set to miss out on having a vote in another UK election

Prime Minister Theresa May’s plan to hold a snap general election on June 8th means British voters who have been in France for over 15 years will once again be denied their say, after being promised they would have a vote.

Brits in France set to miss out on having a vote in another UK election
Photo: AFP

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.

Christopher Chantrey Chairman of the British Community Committee of France told The Local: “There is little hope now of the promised Votes For Life Bill being passed before the registration deadline for the June 8 election. So once again, hundreds of thousands of UK citizens will be unfairly deprived of their chance to vote.
“I am very, very disappointed that the Government has once again forgotten us, and once again forgotten the promise it made to give us the lifelong voting rights that virtually all other advanced democracies already enjoy.”

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.

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.

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