10 Mar, 2014 @ 17:28
1 min read

Costa del Sol MP plans agreed at Lib Dem conference

THE Liberal Democrats will fight to introduce a Costa del Sol MP after agreeing on a policy for overseas constituencies at their spring party conference.

The new policy aims to ensure that expats retain the right for representation in the UK.

British expats currently lose the right to vote in UK elections after 15 years, but Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s party plan to change this.

Many European countries already have a system like this in place. France, for example, has six seats spread across Europe, two in Africa, two in America and one in Asia.

The Liberal Democrats want MPs representing British nationals in Europe, Africa and North America in order to create a ‘fairer’ Parliament.

“There are 2.2 million Brits living in other EU countries, yet these citizens face the loss of their right to vote in general elections simply because they have exercised their EU right to free movement,” said Giles Goodall, Chair of Brussels & Europe Liberal Democrats and an MEP candidate for South East England.

“I’m delighted that the Liberal Democrats have adopted this ground-breaking new policy, which is a breakthrough for Brits all over the EU.

“I hope that the Coalition will now take up our lead to allow all British citizens to have their rightful say at the next general election.”

Tom Powell

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  1. Another Clegg fantasy….Why “Costa del Sol” MP?….I can’t see Rajoy (or any other Spanish politician) exactly jumping for joy at his/her appointment…. ‘Overseas Citizens MP’ would be more appropriate….But in any case, just what could he hope to achieve in order to justify the remuneration that such an appointment seems to attract….And would his expense account call for a residence in every country within his ‘realm’?….A pie in the sky Cleggism in my view.

  2. If you relocate from the UK to Spain, or any other country for that matter, why should you retain the right to vote in a Country you no longer wish to live in?

    This is just another limp attempt by Clegg to gain favour.

  3. @brian
    If you are happy to have no representation in any country you live in fine, go live in Russia they aren’t too keen on democracy, I for one have been campaigning for and welcome this move. Why do you automatically assume an overseas MP would have a home in every country. Not helpful that the OP chose to give it a headline of Costa del Sol MP that’s always enough to put the backs up of the thousands who don’t live on the Costa del Sol.

  4. @ Dave, another stupid comment. Why should you lose the right to vote just because you exercise your right to freedom of movement. Just because you move doesn’t change your nationality unless you choose to do so. You cannot vote in the national elections of the country you chose to move to, so become disenfranchised even though you pay taxes in your home country and your current one. I would be interested to know where you live. Got the spine to tell us or will you just hide in the shadows.

  5. @Peter….You misunderstand my view….Clearly, ANY representation would be a step forward but, I question not only the headline (Costa del Sol MP) but also the reality of such a proposal…That is to say, against the infamous intransigence of the Spanish government when dealing with ex pat issues (for example their lamentable attitude towards Mrs Prior’s appeal in Brussels), I doubt that any material difference would cascade to the bottom line, us.

    Most British MP’s claim for secondary habitat’s when their primary is some distance from their work….So it’s logical to assume that, consistent with their propensity for claiming every penny possible, a ‘habitat in every country’ would seem likely.

    In any case, I, like most ex pat’s ( I imagine) who did their homework didn’t come and live here expecting political representation, other than that enshrined within EU law and that provided by the British Embassy.

  6. @brian
    My main reason for wanting ex pats represented at Westminster is that this current coalition and possible future governments will take decisions that affect us. Like you I moved abroad based on the information and prevailing conditions when I decided to move. This coalition has announced an in / out referendum on EU membership, should that vote be out it could have serious implications for ex pats particularly those in the EU. I know for a fact that plans are already being drawn up in the event of an out vote. One of the most serious of those is the freezing of the old age pensions for ALL ex pats, this would not be for new claimants but existing claimants as well. I have friends who say we are not going to leave the EU, personally I don’t want to sleep walk into a financial nightmare.

  7. @Peter….Your motives are, I’m sure, shared by the majority but if the mechanism for reaching the objective means sharing Clegg’s general looneyism then I doubt you will see much enthusiasm.

    Even within the EU, WFA was recently targeted (by the lobbying of Clegg and Smith as I recall) and so it is now lost to ex-pats without just reason. So it’s reasonable to suspect that, in the fullness of time UK State Pensions for ex-pats will face a freeze, in or out of the EU….And I fail to see how just one MP can exercise sufficient influence over those in the UK government (and opposition) who are hell bent on creating a divide between those who have earned an enjoyable retirement and those who haven’t, simply to get a few more votes….Not to mention of course the inevitable operational hostility from Rajoy and his compañeros.

  8. Brilliant – from the party that failed to get the voting system changed for the House of Commons and reform of the House of Lords into an elected Senate, a constitutional proposal with even less chance of becoming a reality.

    As a trade-off, EU nationals living in other EU countries should be able to vote in national parliamentary elections, so British people in Spain should be able to vote in elections to the Cortes, and Spanish one in the UK should be able to vote in elections to Westminster.

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