Longstay Brit expats overseas disallowed from voting in June general election

Published:  19 Apr at 6 PM
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Yet again, long-term British expats who’ve been overseas for more than 15 years are to be excluded from voting in the shock general election called yesterday by Theresa May.

The Brexit-induced plight of long-stay UK expats in EU member states who were unable to vote for their futures has been made even more devastating by the news they will not be allowed to vote in the upcoming general election. In 2016, May promised those affected would have their voting rights returned, but the British parliament has taken no action to honour the PM’s promise as yet, leaving many thousands of disenfranchised British citizens overseas with no way of making their voices heard.

Also excluded will be UK expats living across the world who have not yet registered to vote in the home country, as it’s unlikely future applications would be processed in time. Since yesterday’s surprise announcement by May, major media outlets and a number of UK politicians have stated they believe May’s action has everything to do with her insistence on a hard Brexit, a measure which would destroy the hopes of UK expats living in Europe and EU expats in Britain.

Given the government’s continuing reluctance to reassure or even simply update expat Britons terrified for their futures, it now seems the views of the many thousands affected will again be totally ignored. In a statement to the Spain Report, the British Embassy in Madrid said yesterday the government is ‘committed to enfranchising all British expats living overseas’, adding there will not be enough time before the general election to implement the proposal.

May’s promise was made last October, over six months ago and, by the time the election takes place, over eight months will have elapsed without even the necessary parliamentary bills being tabled. Even enfranchised UK expats who did not register to vote in the Brexit referendum, or were prevented from doing so due to the chaos surround the provision of postal votes, may well not be able to sign up for the June vote due to the short time between its announcement and the date of the election.

Although the Conservative Party is in a safe place at present, mostly due to Labour’s poor performance and infighting, May’s snap election decision could rule out participation by many of the 300,000 Briton living in Europe who would now like to see a soft Brexit or even a reversal of the ‘advisory’ referendum's result.
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