UK expats votes for life bill moves to second stage

Published:  26 Feb at 6 PM
Want to get involved? Become a Featured Expat and take our interview.
Become a Local Expert and contribute articles.
Get in touch today!
The private members’ bill aimed at reversing the hated 15-year disenfranchisement of British expat voters has passed its first hurdle.

Friday’s debate saw the bill debated as required, with Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale suggesting it should be known as ‘Shindlers Bill’, in honour of the Italy-based, now 96-year old WWII veteran who has campaigned for decades to get the law reversed. Only 20 MPs turned up for the debate, but the low turn-out was enough to ensure the bill was passed through to the committee stage for detailed examination.

Sir Roger, speaking after Labour MP Sandy Martin opposed the bill, told lawmakers he was proud to have Harry Shindler as a personal friend and suggested Martin should meet with Mr Shindler in order to explain why he’s attempting to deny him the right to vote before he dies. Sir Roger also pointed out that, in spite of having lived in Italy ever since the end of WWII, Mr Shindler had never considered taking Italian citizenship as he was still ‘strongly attached’ to his country of birth.

This bill, he added, is a measure to redress an injustice at exactly the right time, as British citizens in EU member states are likely to lose their local voting rights as well as their EU election votes, thus becoming totally disenfranchised should the bill not be passed. The majority of long-term British expats living abroad keep close links to their families and friends back in the UK, are paying UK taxes on incomes and may well decide to return later in their lives.

The opposition took the stance that, after 15 years overseas, the average Brit expats would have lost all interest in UK political issues as well as in their remaining family and friends back in the UK. According to Martin, if links were that close, long-stay expats should have brought family members with them when they emigrated. Labour MP Cat Smith also objected to the way the ‘important matter’ had been presented as a Private Members’ Bill open for debate only on Fridays when most lawmakers had returned to their constituencies.
Like this news?

Comments » No published comments just yet for this article...

Feel free to have your say on this item. Go on... be the first!

Tell us Your Thoughts On This Piece:

Your Name *
Email * (not published, needs verification one time only)
  • Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • RSS feed
  • Facebook

Latest Headlines

News Links

News Archive