Freedom of Movement in the EU, but not VOTES.
Since the 1980s there has been freedom of movement within the EU. In other words you can move to any other country of the EU to live, to work, or retire. Unfortunately that does not mean that you can always still vote in your country of origin – especially if you are a British citizen. After 15 years abroad you are stripped of your right to vote.
Political Representation and Voting is a major route to justice. It is the bastion of a free society. Great numbers of Britons who live abroad have considerable links with Britain and its governance. In Euroland - countries, about 3.5% of all British State pensioners, aproximately 450,000, have moved to live out their retirement.. Elsewhere beyond the UK there are another 1 million. In total over 9% live outside the UK. They all are dependent on the UK for income. Nearly all carry strong ties with UK and are dependent on the Government, and its decisions, but allows for no form of consultation with them. There is no Representation.
After 15 years abroad, the Briton Abroad has no opportunity to vote for any MP at Westminster. Before that time limit, the expatriate can vote for an MP in the constituency where he last lived. . The Representation before 15 years is at least an embryonic form of political representation. Registration to vote can be cumbersome and difficult. The registration form to be filled each year is several pages long, and failure to register makes it appear that the Briton Abroad does not care. Of course they care. They run parties on the Queen's Jubilee. They argue the case for Britain with their neighbours. They are Ambassadors for Britain.
Thanks to modern communications in today's wired-up world, British citizens overseas, despite being disenfranchised, can remain as well informed on national and international issues impacting the UK as the Briton who has remained within the UK.
A European at heart, who is fluent in Dutch and Spanish, Nick Clegg, our Deputy Prime Minister, considers that if the expatriate wants to be politically active then he should take out the nationality of his host country, and vote there. He can't be serious! But he is.
A passionate debate is almost certain to commence in the House of Lords on 23rd October, in which it is certain that Lord Lexden (Conservative) will table an amendment to remove the 15 year limit on the voting rights of all expatriates. When the Bill was before the Commons, a very similar amendment was introduced by Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, MP (Cotswolds) Pressure from the Liberal Democrat leadership, caused him to remove it. What are they frightened of? For many years our politicians have said that they are worried that voters are lacking interest in politics, and yet here are voters who want the vote, and are being constantly denied it. Lord Lipsey (liberal) being one of the loudest in his “long held view” that ex pats should not have the vote.
Contact some peers. Tell them what you think. Send them an e mail with your feelings. Here are your contact points.
Leader of the Labour Party in the Lords -- Baroness Royall - firstname.lastname@example.org