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

Increase in number of people ‘asking King for mercy’ through royal pardons
More and more people living in Belgium have been seeking royal pardons, mainly for fines, largely as a result of it now being possible to send in ...
England now accepting cheaper Covid tests from fully vaccinated travellers
Fully vaccinated travellers who enter England from non-red countries will only be required to book a lateral flow test to take following their ...
Re-introducing face masks indoors considered as Covid-19 situation worsens
Belgium's council of ministers will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation, and reintroducing face ...
Federal museums to receive €2.9 million booster shot
Federal museums will receive an additional €2.9 million in support from the government for the fiscal year 2021, of which the first payouts will be ...
European Parliament emphasises healthy food and animal welfare in EU Farm to Fork Strategy
The European Parliament adopted this week a resolution on the EU Farm to Fork Strategy calling for a fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly food ...
Threats of strike action could affect Brussels’ STIB network from Monday
Brussels public transport operator STIB's trams, buses and metros could be affected from Monday 25 October onwards as the union representing the ...
Number of international adoptions in Belgium continues to drop
The number of regulated international adoptions authorised by Belgium further dropped in 2020, continuing an ongoing decreasing trend. Last ...
Disaster drill with emergency services held at Brussels Airport
Around 300 people took part in a disaster drill held was organised on Saturday by Brussels Airport in collaboration with external emergency services ...
Austria presents bill to legalise euthanasia
Austria’s government on Saturday presented its proposals for legalising assisted suicide, in response to a Constitutional Court ruling that the ...
Brussels’ Museum Night Fever draws in some 12,000 visitors
Some 12,000 participants took part in the 14th edition of Museum Night Fever in Brussels, with the 29 participating museums filled to the maximum ...
Relaunch of 10,000 steps campaign to get Flemish people moving
The Flemish government is breathing new life into its 10,000 steps campaign to get people in the region moving after a recent survey found that a ...
‘No scientific basis’ for giving everyone third dose, vaccine expert says
The head of Belgium's Vaccination Taskforce has argued that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the Flemish government's decision to ...