Share article:
Share article:

UK government proposes ‘votes for life’ for expats

The British government has decided to scrap the rule that stops British people from voting in elections if they have lived abroad for more than 15 years.

The measure was included in the recent Queen’s Speech, and has been explained in a statement by the British Embassy in Brussels.

At the moment, British people living abroad, otherwise known as expats, are only allowed to vote if they were registered to vote in the past 15 years. Beyond that deadline, they cannot vote.

But many British expats have been living abroad for longer – think of long-serving EU officials, or British retirees in Portugal.

While they can always apply for residency of their adopted country and obtain voting rights there, issues in British elections may still be important to them in the business or private lives.

The most important example of that in recent decades came in 2016, when long-time expats in the EU were banned from voting in a Brexit referendum that would arguably affect their own lives more than the lives of many Britons at home.

Decisions made in the UK Parliament on foreign policy, defence, immigration, pensions and trade deals affect British citizens who live overseas,” the embassy says. “It is therefore right that they have a say in UK Parliamentary General Elections.”

The changes will form part of the forthcoming Elections Bill, which will allow expats to remain registered to vote for longer, and put in place an absentee voting plan.

Related News

 

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,” commented Lord True, minister of state for the Cabinet Office.

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.”

This is great news for all UK nationals living in Belgium. The issue of having the right to vote for life has been raised many times during my conversations with British nationals in Belgium, so I understand how important this is for them,” said British ambassador to Belgium, Martin Shearman.

This will ensure that Brits in Belgium, who still have deep ties with the UK, can continue to participate in the British democratic process, no matter how long ago they left the UK.”

Latest news

Why Belgium is regulating sex work
After decades of confusing rules and hypocritical policy, Belgium is finally regulating sex work by removing prostitution from the criminal law. ...
Up to 100 km/h winds expected across Belgium on Wednesday night
Gusts of up to 100 km/h are expected across Belgium on Wednesday night, according to the Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI), which has issued a ...
Cycling traffic officially added to VRT’s traffic bulletin
Usually a list of updates for drivers on busy roads, traffic bulletins will now include the latest travel news for cyclists in Belgium, VRT announced ...
MEPs call for European strategy to protect workers from asbestos
Members of the European Parliament are calling on the Commission to create a strategy for removing all abestos from buildings in order to reduce the ...
Mandatory vaccine for carers: employers call for sanctions
In a notice submitted by the National Council for Work (CNT), employers have called for heavy penalties for healthcare workers who refuse to receive ...
Police pension protest blocks several Brussels crossroads
On Wednesday, around 350 police officers expressed their dissatisfaction about the unclear pension scheme, low salaries and politicised police unions ...
Belgium in Brief: A Consultative Committee Sequel
Sequels often have a lot to live up to and when it comes to movie franchises, it gets difficult to keep up the hype once you get towards the final ...
25 years ago today: 300,000 people marched in white against child abuse
On this day 25 years ago, over 300,000 people marched in Brussels to demand a more effective justice system and to support the families of Julie, ...
Windy weather forecast should lower gas prices
After weeks of relatively calm conditions, a return to windy weather should lower Europe's soaring energy prices. Wind turbines in the UK and Germany ...
EC calls on candidate countries to focus on fundamental reforms before they can join the EU
The European Commission adopted yesterday its 2021 Enlargement Package, providing a detailed assessment of the state of play and the progress made by ...
Cigarette-eating robot patrols Ghent streets to fight littering
A litter fighting (and eating) robot will be patrolling the streets of Ghent in the coming weeks in an effort to raise awareness of the growing ...
Display of child’s room in Brussels raises awareness of foster families
An exhibit that features a fictitious child’s bedroom has been on display since Tuesday at the Place d'Armes in Namur, with the support of the ...