Petition to allow long term expats the vote gathers thousands of signatures

Published:  21 Apr at 6 PM
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Expat media outlets across Europe’s sunshine and retirement hubs are picking up on the news that yet another violation of UK citizens’ democratic right to vote will forbid those British nationals who’ve lived overseas for 15 years from voting in the recently announced snap election.

Given the reasons behind the British PM’s sudden policy reversal resulting in her call for a general election seven weeks from now, refusing the vote to the thousands of Britons most likely to have their chosen lifestyles wrecked by a hard Brexit is callous at the least. October’s pledge by then PM David Cameron raised hopes of fair play, only for the present Prime Minister to dash them again at a crucial point in the UK’s political history.

One Brit living in France has come forward to protest by starting up an online petition calling for all British expatriates to be given the vote. Chris Madsen believes the UK government’s disenfranchisement of thousands of its own citizens is simply wrong, especially under the present circumstances. In the case of local council elections, she says, such action might not be considered unreasonable, but during the June referendum it prevented the very people whose lives would be most affected from taking a stand for their own futures, and it’s now excluding them again.

As the petition states, it’s not just long-stay Britons in Europe who are being denied the vote, it’s the estimated total of five million UK expats who’ve lived overseas for 15 years or more. The promise to reverse the ruling was made last year during the annual Queen’s Speech as well as by Cameron, and has been ignored by the British government ever since.

In just over 24 hours almost 4,000 people have signed the petition, leaving just over a thousand more signatures needed for it to hit its target of 5,000. Copies will be sent to PM Theresa May and to the European parliament via British MEPs, encouraging them to speak in favour of reversing the ban.

Source: Olive Press,
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