Voting Rights: British Nationals Abroad

Cabinet Office written question – answered on 3rd October 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes Independent, Romsey and Southampton North

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for the Cabinet Office, when he plans to bring forward legislative proposals on votes for life for British citizens living abroad.

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster Assistant Whip, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales, The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

The Government is committed to scrapping the arbitrary rule preventing British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from participating in UK parliamentary elections.

That is why we supported Glyn Davies’ Private Members’ Bill on overseas electors. We were therefore disappointed the Bill did not progress through its Report stage in the Commons on 22 March 2019. Nevertheless, the Government remains committed to implementing votes for life.

Changes to the franchise require Parliamentary approval and have to be made significantly in advance of elections, to enable administrators to implement the change and to ensure citizens are aware of the change to their rights.

We will make an announcement on our intentions in due course.

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