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UK Legislation

Expat voting rights in UK General Elections

This forum is for all the aspects of UK law that may affect expats - tax, social security, health, pensions, citizenship etc.

Expat voting rights in UK General Elections

Postby Milegobbler » Mon 28 Jun 2010 07:45 GMT

Under section 141 of the Political Parties and Elections Act 2000 expatriate British citizens are disenfranchised 15 years after last being registered to vote in the UK. Some expats will not be interested in voting, but others will be registered as "overseas electors" and value the right to vote. Section 141 applies to this latter group. My view is that the franchise should be a permanent right of citizenship and should not be time-limited by Parliament. I am well aware of the problems with postal voting, but that issue is likely to be resolved and reformed by the new government. Many expats, especially those living in Europe, maintain close links with the UK, while,at the same time, integrating into the life of their adopted countries.
If you wish to retain the right to vote in UK General Elections as a permanent right of citizenship, and not be disenfranchised after 15 years, please write to your MP in the constituency in which you are registered.
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Postby Dave » Mon 28 Jun 2010 10:00 GMT

Good idea. As you say, the postal voting system doesn't exactly inspire a great deal of confidence - I posted about this on the Editors' Blog on the main site just after the election - but the current moves to overhaul Britain's constitutional set-up offer a great opportunity to resolve this issue.

For all those interested: if you've already lost your right to vote as a result of the existing law, then I suppose the best person to write to would be the MP of whichever constituency you were last registered in or have a link to - or else Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who's overseeing the constitutional overhaul and is based at the Cabinet Office.
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