Elections: British Nationals Abroad

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 18th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Rennard Lord Rennard Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to extend the 15 year limit in which UK citizens living abroad can remain on UK constituency electoral registers and make donations to political parties.

Photo of Lord Rennard Lord Rennard Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the case for permanently extending voting rights for UK citizens living abroad beyond the present 15 year limit, whilst not extending the 15 year limit in which they are able to remain on constituency electoral registers and make large donations to political parties.

Photo of Lord Young of Cookham Lord Young of Cookham Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), Lords Spokesperson (Cabinet Office)

The Government is supporting Glyn Davies MP’s Private Members’ Bill on overseas electors. The Overseas Electors Bill, if it receives Parliamentary approval, would fulfill our Manifesto commitment to implementing votes for life ahead of the next General Election in 2022. The Bill would scrap the arbitrary rule that prevents British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from participating in UK parliamentary elections

The law clearly states that donations over £500 to political parties and campaigners can only be accepted from individuals who are on the UK electoral register. The Overseas Electors Bill will not change this principle that overseas electors can donate. If a British citizen is able to vote in an election for a political party, we consider that they should also be able to donate to that political party.

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