Votes for Life – Welcome for renewed Cabinet Office commitment - 2nd November 2016
Sir Roger Gale MP (North Thanet) who has been campaigning for “Votes for Life” for expatriate United Kingdom citizens, has this (Wednesday) morning welcomed the renewed commitment made by the Cabinet Office to deliver the necessary legislation in time for “the next scheduled General Election”.
Speaking at Cabinet Office questions the Minister, Chris Skidmore, confirmed that, following the policy statement issued on October 7th indicating how the change in policy would be implemented, there is a determination that “people like Harry Shindler”, the nonagenarian Anzio veteran living in Italy, will be able to exercise their right to vote in Britain in future.
The Minister has also confirmed that the requirement for ex-pats to have been registered previously in the United Kingdom in order to register as an Overseas voter will be scrapped under the proposed legislation.
Speaking after the exchanges on the floor of the House Sir Roger has said:
“It is iniquitous that those who have in many cases paid UK taxes and lived in or served their country throughout their working lives should, after fifteen years, still lose their right to vote in the land that they recognise as “home”. That restriction denied the opportunity to tens of thousands of UK citizens to vote in a recent EU Referendum that will affect the whole future of the United Kingdom.
This Government clearly intends to honour its election pledge to extend the franchise to all UK citizens of voting age, wherever they may currently reside in the world and in perpetuity. That is in line with the practice followed in most developed democracies and I hope very much that the relevant bill will be included in the next Queen`s Speech”