Harry Shindler welcomes UK government scrapping of 15 year expat voting ban

Published:  7 Oct at 6 PM
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Expat campaigner Harry Shindler MBE has applauded the UK government’s now published ‘votes for life’ proposals.

95-year old Harry has been campaigning for 16 years against the controversial UK government ruling which disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of expats who’d lived overseas for 15 years or more. The World War 11 veteran has lived in Italy since 1982 and has never let up on his campaign, even presenting his case unsuccessfully to the European Court of Human Rights in 2009.

Harry’s case for scrapping the highly unpopular law included his family members in the UK, his receipt of the UK state pension and his long-term account with a British bank, as well as his conviction that UK citizens are entitled to a vote no matter where in the world they are based. Earlier this year, Harry and another expat, Jacqueline MacLennon, took their case from a first hearing all the way to Britain’s Supreme Court in a failed attempt to secure a vote for all expats in the Brexit referendum.

The government’s statement today prompted Harry to comment that it seems the British government is at last moving on their earlier promise to reverse the law to allow long-term expats to vote in general elections and referendums. According to the government’s press release the new law will not include local elections or elections to Stormont, Holyrood or the Welsh Assembly.

In his usual manner, Harry has sent a letter to Theresa May congratulating her for allowing the bill to be proposed for parliamentary debate. He wrote he hoped the bill would become law during the current parliamentary session. adding he expects members of parliament of all parties to accept the voting rights of all expats and allow the bill to proceed unopposed.

Harry said it’s now necessary for those who will benefit from the change to see the exact details of the bill, although the fact that it’s happening at all is a major step forward. The government’s press release gives details of the procedure necessary to check expats’ identities before they are allowed to register, and the process is expected to cost less than £m to put in place.
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