UK House of Lords calls for expat voting rights extension

Published:  29 Jan at 6 PM
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Tagged: France, UK, Euro, England
The British government is being urged by its senior parliamentary body, the House of Lords, to extend expat voting rights beyond the present limit of 15 years.

Although it’s possible that many expats are not aware that they can still vote for a period of 15 years after their departure from the UK, those that are may get the voting break many are calling for. Lord Lexton found strong support in the Upper House from former expats Lord Norton of Louth and Lord Flight when he took up the expat cause in a recent speech.

According to his lordship, figures from the Institute for Public Policy Research state than 20 per cent of UK expats are retirees intending to stay away for at least 15 years. He considers that the 15-year cut-off point constitutes a grave injustice which is being keenly felt by many.

Campaigners for the extension of the right to vote insist the limit is discriminatory as, in 22 out of the 27 other Eurozone countries, expatriates are able to vote without any restrictions, no matter how long they have been non-resident in the UK. Expat Brian Cave, based in France for some years, has campaigned extensively for a relaxation of the rule, saying that at least 450,000 Brit retirees now live in Europe and should be given the chance to state their preferences.

The controversy has raised its head previously, having been taken to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in 2011 by expat Harry Shindler, a WWII veteran. Unfortunately, the court ruled against him and the law was allowed to stand.
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