UK to give its overseas citizens life-long vote

| 30/05/2021 | 50 Comments

(CNS): British citizens living outside the UK will soon have the right to vote in future UK general elections, no matter how long they have been away from the country. Currently, British citizens who have been living abroad for 15 years lose their democratic rights, even if they have not gained the right to vote in the country where they have settled and British laws still directly impact them, as is the case here. In this year’s Queen’s speech the Conservative government announced plans to return voting rights for life, scrapping what was described as the arbitrary 15-year cut-off.

The UK Cabinet office issued a release Friday, following the original announcement in the annual speech earlier this month, stating that the new measures will also make it easier for overseas electors to remain registered to vote for longer. Together, these changes will empower more British citizens living overseas to participate in UK democracy. The change will apply to all Britons living abroad who have been previously registered to vote or were previously resident in the UK.

Electors will be able to reapply for a postal vote or refresh their proxy vote at the same time as renewing their voter registration, streamlining the process and helping to ensure overseas voters have appropriate voting arrangements in place ahead of an election. In future, overseas voters will only need to renew their registration on the electoral roll every three years. They will, however, still need a UK address to which they can demonstrate a connection.

There are believed to be about five million British people living overseas, and despite being away for many years, they are still impacted by UK policy and legislation in areas such as foreign policy, defence, immigration, pensions and trade deals.

The idea started as a private member’s motion several years ago to allow UK citizens in Europe to vote if there was another referendum on Britain’s exit from the European Union, but now that Brexit is a done deal, the change is needed as a way of replacing the loss of their rights as European citizens. It was estimated that more than three quarters of a million British expats were disenfranchised by the Brexit referendum.

The ‘votes for life’ proposition now forms part of a new elections bill that is expected to be introduced to parliament later this year.

Minister of State at the Cabinet Office Lord True said that in an increasingly global and connected world, most British citizens living overseas retain deep ties to the United Kingdom. “Many still have family here, have a history of hard work in the UK behind them, and some have even fought for our country,” he said. “These measures support our vision for a truly Global Britain, opening up our democracy to British citizens living overseas who deserve to have their voices heard in our Parliament, no matter where they choose to live.”


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Comments (50)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Great. Can I vote against Brexit now?

  2. Anon says:

    No representation without taxation….

  3. Anonymous says:

    If you’re a citizen you should absolutely have the right to vote.

    • Anonymous says:

      Kudos to the UK!! Sadly, Cayman doesn’t treat their citizens that way.

      • Anonymous says:

        Probably be a there is no such thing.

        • Anonymous says:

          Such a barrel of laughs mate, aren’t you.
          What if locusts descended on your country and totally marginalized you?
          How would you feel?
          Us expats have a lot to answer for, but not as much as the Caymanian politicians.

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely? What, simply because I was born there?

      I am a UK expat. I left the UK in 1997. I still pay a small amount of tax there because of UK sourced income, but I don’t live there and the day to day polices and actions of the UK government don’t directly affect me. Why should I have a say in the election of the government, let alone a constituency MP when I have no place of residence or links there?

      Of course I feel a deep emotional connection to my motherland, but I really don’t see why I should get to opine on its governance when I chose of my own free will to go and live somewhere else – and am not really paying for the policy decisions taken by elected officials.

  4. Anonymous says:

    To all those expat residents who are complaining that you can’t vote in Cayman- out in your time, prove you are worthy and if/when you earn the right to be a Caymanian you can go out and vote!

    • Anonymous says:

      cant run for parliament though. Whereas Caymanians can both vote and run for office in the UK.

      • Anonymous says:

        Apples and oranges. Our votes are not enough to swing a single constituency in the UK. Allowing expats to vote and run for office would result in a complete expat takeover of everything. No thank you.

    • Anonymous says:

      “worthy” to vote for the likes of our honourable speaker. Hmmm.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wasting your time with these entitled whiners.
      They want it both ways.

  5. Anonymous says:

    That’s three more votes for the SNP and freedom from the oppressors from my house.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This is just a trick to get a census on all of us who chose to leave the crappy UK because we hated the system in the first place.
    And now they want to give us a vote?
    They are taking the piss.
    I don’t vote for crime.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Means nothing.
    I refuse to vote within a system that will never represent the values I wish to see in a government.
    1. Transparency
    2. Fiscal responsibility
    3. Immigration controls
    4. Improved standard of living
    5. Freedom of speech

    Until we transform the system starting in our own hearts, we have nothing.

    Vote for what? More lies, corruption, exorbitant fees and duties except for the select few, heavy-handed police, suppressed speech, broken justice system, massive civil service, over-regulation and prying into our private lives with endless questionnaires and censuses.

    I am not interested. It’s like giving the chickens the opportunity to vote for the fox and the turkeys Christmas.

    Politics is legalized crime. No, I do not want to vote for this. Leave me alone and keep deceiving the lemmings.

  8. Anonymous says:

    and the majority of residents in cayman have zero voting rights or representation…..welcome to wonderland……zz

  9. Anonymous says:

    you need an address you have a tie to i. the UK….. /if you have one you might be liable for uk Tax… funny that. are they just trying to catch people

  10. Anon says:

    Terrible idea. Another example of the Tories trying to skew elections in the UK.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Haha conservatives thinking those living tax free will be voting for them..smart really

    • Anonymous says:

      Why do you think British citizens living overseas are living tax free? The vast majority are living in Europe, the U.S. or high tax commonwealth countries. The number living in tax free jurisdictions is a rounding error.

    • Anonymous says:

      And U.K. citizens hoping the CI govt will extend the same courtesy to them .

      • Anonymous says:

        So as a Caymanian does this mean with my British passport I can vote in the UK without ever living there? And these British expats living here get no say here. Perfect

        • Anonymous says:

          You see the light! Brilliant!

        • Anonymous says:

          Doubt it. You’d still need to register to vote and to do that you need to live there. I think it’s more for Brits who used to live there but moved abroad and who intend one day to go back. (If you don’t intend to go back don’t vote or HMRC will claim you’re still domiciled there and want their pound of IHT flesh)

      • Anonymous says:

        Sigh – its about UK citizens getting to vote in the UK even though they don’t reside there – bit like Caymanians residing overseas can vote here. Has absolutely nothing to do with UK citizens resident here voting in Cayman elections (although it is ironic that Caymanians residing in the UK are eligible to vote in UK elections) .

        • Anonymous says:

          Except that Caymanians residing abroad CAN’T vote in Cayman. The residency test here is pretty strict (way less grace than the 15 years UK gives) and therefore the elections office is quick to remove you from the elector rolls.

      • Anonymous says:

        CI Govt doesn’t even extend that courtesy to Caymanians! Look at our voter laws.

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