Massive expansion of voting rights for expats revealed

Expat & Offshore has campaigned for many years to abolish the UK Government’s 15 year rule on expatriate voting rights.

The policy as it stood prevented expats from voting in UK general elections after they had been out of the country for 15 years.

However, the Queen’s speech that set out the government’s agenda for the coming parliament included a commitment to introduce a bill to scrap the controversial 15 year rule.

British citizens living abroad will now retain their voting rights in UK and European parliamentary elections for life. 

Also included in the bill will be provisions to ensure secure and accessible registration of overseas voters as well as efforts to ensure large scale encouragement of expats to participate in elections.

The change in the law was brought about after many years of campaigning by groups including the Conservatives Abroad as well as expat focussed publications such as Expat & Offshore.

In an added bonus it was also confirmed that the coming referendum on leaving the European Union will be run using the general election electoral register meaning that expats will also be able to have their say on Britain’s continuing membership of the EU.