12 Jan, 2015 @ 17:32
1 min read

British expats to vote in UK elections

ballet box

MORE than 1.5 million British expats living in Europe are a step closer to winning back their right to vote in UK elections.

Campaigners are already claiming ‘victory’ after MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown proposed the bill in the House of Commons last month, receiving no opposition.

It means expats will be eligible to vote in future general elections, possibly even one scheduled for later this year.

Campaigner Harry Shindler MBE said: “Sadly the timing of the general election could delay the bill until after the next election.

“But it can only delay the inevitable – our regaining the right to vote.

“Arguing whether we vote at the 2015 or 2020 election means we have won. It is now just a matter of time.

“So that is how we enter the New Year, in the knowledge that our campaign is nearly over.”

To register for your vote, visit: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote


Rob Horgan

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  1. If your not voting for the nasty party or the pink tories it’s a complete waste of time. If there is one EU law that should have been enacted at the beginning of the EU in 1956 it was proportional representation as a requirement of membership. How different would the UK be today if we had joined then and been forced to adopt the only true democratic form of voting.

  2. You’re very right on that Stuart, but everyone with a UK passport who lives in and wants to stay in Spain will need to be able to vote against leaving the EU if it ever comes to it. Better to sort out the paperwork now before it’s too late.

  3. I find it strange that people that are not resident in the UK can vote. They can sit in another country and vote a party in then when that party doubles road tax and increases VAT they sit back and say “Oh well, we are better off here”.

  4. @John Lightfot You are making a very simplistic statement on the situation. Ex pats can be greatly affected by what the UK government does or doesn’t do. A great many of us have pensions which can only be taxed in the UK we cannot simply move them to another country to take advantage of a possibly more beneficial tax regime. Without exception we all have family still living and working in the UK so yes we care about how they might be treated by whatever party is in power. I suspect an awful lot like me decided to move to an EU country based on the fact that we were in the European Union and therefor had the freedom of movement and the continuation of our pensions paid abroad as easily as if we were still living in the UK and of course our health care provided under a reciprocal agreement. Having made that move we now find the goal posts being moved with a possible exit from the EU so yes we want a say. Further you may or may not be aware that ex pats have no right to vote in national elections in whatever country they reside in so we are disenfranchised all the way round. Finally I may no longer live in the UK and may well die abroad but I will die British.

  5. I left North Norfolk 45 years ago for Spain and have never been back. Should I now demand the right to vote in North Norfolk affairs? Much better to give me (and the three million other Europeans who live in an EU country other than their own), some representation in Brussels.

  6. I do not think it is simplistic. If during the election the voting by the people living in the UK would have chosen party “A” but because of the people not living in the UK the result is party “B” then you have decided the future of the country where you do not live. When you live here you take all policy’s in to account. When living abroad you are more likely to focus on a pension or health issue that affects you.
    You can not vote when you are detached from the consequences of your actions.

  7. Living in Spain, having paid seguridad social, and the Hacienda for many years I would be far more interested in voting in national elections here.
    I vote in local and european elections but we are disenfranchised for national and regional. I lived in many areas in the UK so I have no idea of which constituency I would be eligible.

  8. For the UK, you have to vote in the last constituency where you were registered to vote. To vote in Spanish national elections you can apply for Spanish nationality. Most Brits need to have been resident in Spain for 10 years to be eligible though, unless you’re married to someone with Spanish nationality.

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