British expats who have lived abroad for the more than 15 years will not get a vote in June’s General Election, despite the government promising they would during their previous election campaign.
The government argues that Prime Minister Teresa May’s decision to call a snap election, just two years into a five-year term, has not allowed them enough time to get the promised change into law.
According to the Guardian newspaper, in a letter to the New Europeans campaign group, cabinet office representative Nathan Lappin said: “There is no sufficient time to change the relevant primary and secondary legislation to enfranchise all British expats, scrapping the 15-year time limit, ahead of the dissolution of parliament before the general election.”
The announcement was met with disappointment from overseas groups.
“The people most affected by the referendum were not allowed to vote in it, simply because they exercised their right to live in another country,” said Dave Spokes, one of the founders of the support group Expat Citizen Rights in EU. “Now it seems they will miss out again as their government has repeatedly failed to honour repeated promises to repeal this unjust and unfair rule.”
Tens of thousands of expats will now be unable to vote in the election.
Meanwhile, those who do qualify are being reminded to apply as soon as possible at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote, when you can also apply for either a postal ballot or a proxy vote.
Article published 26th April 2017