Votes for Expat Brits
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What does the law say?

Back in 1985, the Representation of the People Act extended the right to vote
in national elections to British citizens living overseas who had previously been
resident in the UK within the previous five years. This period was extended to
twenty years in 1989, but was reduced in 2000 to fifteen years with effect
from 1 April 2002. Specifically, the offending pieces of legislation are Section
of the People Act 1985, as amended by the Representation of the People
Act 2000.
This legislation is arbitrary, discriminatory, and serves no useful purpose. At
various times in the past the government has arbitrarily fixed the cut-off point
for British expat citizens’ voting rights at zero, five, twenty and fifteen years.
This is a “think-of-a-number” approach, rather than a reasoned and responsible
approach towards an important area of legislation.




The Prime Minister, David Cameron MP, has pledged that if a
100% Conservative government is elected in 2015, he will hold
a referendum on the question of whether the UK should leave
the European Union.

As the law stands at present, a million or more British citizens
living in EU Member States, whose lives and livelihoods would
be profoundly and directly affected by a withdrawal from the EU,
would be prevented from voting in the referendum and therefore
from having their say on one of the most important issues in their

The BCC has petitioned the European Parliament to debate this
most important matter.