LIBERAL Democrat leader Tim Farron has slammed the ‘utter unfairness’ of British expats being denied a vote in next month’s general election.
Farron pledged the Lib Dems would grant MPs to expat constituencies to represent the 1.2 million British citizens living in the EU.
Farron, who has cancelled Tuesday’s planned trip to Gibraltar in the wake of the Manchester suspected terror attack, accused the Conservative Party of ‘breaking their word’ after stating in its 2015 election manifesto it would grant the vote to expats who had lived out of the UK for more than 15 years.
“In their 2015 manifesto, the Conservatives pledged to remove the 15-year rule, but they refused to apply this to the referendum and in February this year, dropped the policy and broke their word,” said Farron.
“But the Liberal Democrats recognise the utter unfairness of a system which denies UK citizens living abroad a vote.”
He also warned that ‘millions here in Europe’ face ‘the uncertainty that an extreme Brexit’ would bring ‘possibly without any deal at all’.
“That is why in our manifesto, we’ve committed to establishing specific constituencies for all UK citizens who live abroad,” he added.
Farron went on to accuse Theresa May of ‘disregarding’ Gibraltar.
“96% of you voted to remain in the EU, but your voices have now been disregarded,” said Farron.
“In the letter Theresa May sent at the end of March, triggering Article 50 and setting out the so-called ‘principles’ of negotiation, Gibraltar was not mentioned at all.”
Farron was speaking after May endured a torrid day on the campaign trail, with the Conservative Party leader grilled by journalists over her backtrack on the proposed ‘dementia tax’.
Accusing May of a ‘twisted view’, Farron blasted her record since taking office in July last year.
“Since the referendum, she has spent more time cosying up to regimes in Turkey and Saudi Arabia than she has engaging with the remaining EU states to work out the best deal for British people,” said Farron
“But this twisted view of the world, where human rights are crushed, refugees trampled on and weapons exchanged with those who use them on civilians, this is not the Britain I love.”