On 2 December 2014, a bill to scrap the 15 year limit on overseas voting was presented to the House of Commons and unanimously accepted. It is due to go to second reading in March 2015. This represents a unique opportunity to overturn the 15 year rule, perhaps even before the 2015 General Election, and certainly before any UK EU referendum takes place.
This affects British expats who have lived out of the UK for 15 years or more: expat professionals with international careers; second generation expats, many of whom will come of age while resident abroad without the right to vote anywhere in national elections; and pensioners.
Labour and the Lib Dems have dropped their opposition to this bill and, given the low volume of legislation passing through the House of Commons, there is ample time to pass such a bill in time for the General Election if the Government were to introduce a Government Bill early in 2015. This would need the agreement of both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats as coalition partners.
Supporters of the campaign to repeal the 15 year rule are asked to write to (ex)MPs, especially Liberal Democrats, to persuade them to encourage the government to introduce legislation to repeal the 15-year rule early in the New Year, and to persuade family and friends resident in the UK to do so too, using the following suggested text:
"On 2 December 2014, a ten minute bill to scrap the 15 year limit on overseas voting was presented to the House of Commons by Geoffrey Clifton-Brown and unanimously accepted. Supporters of the bill are now calling for the introduction of a new Bill in government time, which would give British citizens the right to vote in national elections in perpetuity. Please encourage the government to introduce legislation to repeal the 15-year rule early in 2015 to enable the bill to be adopted before the General Election."