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Voting rights for expats

(37 Posts)
MawBe Fri 28-May-21 07:38:20

This should please a lot of people - not least Jura/Biba if she is still following GN.
From this mornings DT
British expats will get lifetime rights to vote in general elections, as the Government scraps a time limit on casting ballots from abroad

The Elections Bill will remove the “arbitrary” rule which requires those who have lived outside the UK for more than 15 years lose their right to vote in a general election. It will also include measures that will allow overseas voters to stay on the register for longer.

British citizens overseas deserve to have their voices heard in our Parliament no matter where they live
Ministers believe that expats should have a say because decisions made by MPs on areas such as foreign policy, defence, immigration, pensions, and trade deals affect them wherever they live in the world.

The new rights will benefit up to three million overseas voters. Ministers have also discussed similar rights for expats in referenda, a move that could have a dramatic effect on any future independence ballot for Scotland as it would boost a “no” vote .

There is no reference to such a move in the Bill – and it would have to be part of a separate piece of legislation instituting a referendum and would be fiercely opposed by the SNP

vampirequeen Fri 28-May-21 08:28:13

That's disgraceful. Why should people who no longer live here have the right to help decide who governs us?

Gwyneth Fri 28-May-21 08:36:06

If anyone has lived outside the UK for 15 years they should lose their right to vote on matters in the UK.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 08:36:16

Well my Scottish stepfather will be voting ‘no’ then in any Indy2 referendum.

Actually though, I’m not sure that I agree with these new proposals. Maybe (cynically) it’s because Brexit is done now?

Lucca Fri 28-May-21 08:39:27

vampirequeen

That's disgraceful. Why should people who no longer live here have the right to help decide who governs us?

I guess this is the justification “ Ministers believe that expats should have a say because decisions made by MPs on areas such as foreign policy, defence, immigration, pensions, and trade deals affect them wherever they live in the world.”

Not saying I agree, mind.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 08:46:18

Not for Brexit though. They’d have all voted ‘no’ wouldn’t they? Funny how it’s being changed now to coincide with any Indy2.

Alegrias1 Fri 28-May-21 08:50:55

Where will they draw the line?

Several of my family members emigrated when they were young and haven't been back in decades. Many still have a right to UK passports. Would they get to vote?

It's a daft and transparently obvious idea.

Ellianne Fri 28-May-21 08:56:40

I sort of get it, they are still British and affected to an extent by what goes on back here.
Yes, it will please a fair few expats but there's always the exchange rate to complain about instead, and that affects them far more and can't be changed.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 09:21:50

Well yes, but no.
Yes they are British, but if they’ve chosen to take up residency abroad and pay their taxes to their new home country then no, I think they’ve made an active choice. Why try to influence what we, as residents, have to live with here?

CafeAuLait Fri 28-May-21 09:27:48

I'm an ex-pat of my country of birth. I have the right to vote and I don't as I feel I've lost touch with life there. If I planned to return maybe I'd vote as I'd have more of a vested interest in the direction of the country, but I don't plan to return, so I focus on where I am living now and plan to remain.

Callistemon Fri 28-May-21 09:28:08

vampirequeen

That's disgraceful. Why should people who no longer live here have the right to help decide who governs us?

British citizens overseas deserve to have their voices heard in our Parliament no matter where they live

I agree, vampirequeen

My DD do not feel they have the right to vote in UK or Welsh elections that no longer affect them.

Ellianne Fri 28-May-21 09:28:13

They've made a choice but maybe a lot of them in their heart of hearts think they might return to the UK when the going gets tough? I guess they often want for their future and for their offspring? Not that I think that is right either.
The problem is the desire to have a foot in both camps and to cherry pick. I would be more concerned about their coming back to access the NHS which is not unheard of.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 09:32:27

Yes, if their adult children live in the UK they get to vote anyway on their futures here in the UK. Extra votes by family members living abroad seems unfair. Almost a ‘gerrymandering’ concept.

Which is, I suspect what this is about.
Keeping Scotland in the UK.

Petera Fri 28-May-21 09:36:09

vampirequeen

That's disgraceful. Why should people who no longer live here have the right to help decide who governs us?

It's actually a recent thing, Tony Blair introduced the 15-year limit in 2000. But whether or not you agree with it you also have to think of the complementary issue - should anyone living in the UK therefore have the right to vote?

It's also not clear-cut, I know people who live outside of the UK but pay their taxes inside the UK.

lemongrove Fri 28-May-21 09:40:31

Ellianne

I sort of get it, they are still British and affected to an extent by what goes on back here.
Yes, it will please a fair few expats but there's always the exchange rate to complain about instead, and that affects them far more and can't be changed.

Yes, I sort of get it too, because in any case they may choose to move back to the UK at any time.Do they have voting rights in
France, or Spain ow wherever as well though?
If it was decided to apply this rule to Scottish ex pats, then I would have thought it would boost the Yes vote and not the NO.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 09:41:53

It's also not clear-cut, I know people who live outside of the UK but pay their taxes inside the UK.

Eh?
Sorry to be dim Petera but I thought the tax situation was the main crux of the 180 days +. 1 guidelines? Whichever you choose stay in the most gets your taxes?
🤔

sodapop Fri 28-May-21 09:41:59

A lot of us still pay UK taxes Urmstongran and worked all our lives in UK. There is often uneccsarily harsh criticism on here of people who opted to have a change of lifestyle and move to another country.

Petera Fri 28-May-21 09:42:37

Urmstongran

Well my Scottish stepfather will be voting ‘no’ then in any Indy2 referendum.

Actually though, I’m not sure that I agree with these new proposals. Maybe (cynically) it’s because Brexit is done now?

The Scottish thing is interesting - I just don't see how it could be done (at least not without an enormous amount of work).

In the last independence referendum the rule was clear - if you lived in Scotland you had a vote, irrespective of your nationality, if you lived outside you didn't.

If you are to allow 'expat' Scots to vote you need to define who they are and then arrange for them to provide proof that they have the right to vote.

The definition part will be easy as, I assume - like the last time, the Scottish government will produce a white paper which defines who will be entitled to Scottish nationality but then registering to vote on the basis of this definition could be a very lengthy procedure.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 09:47:10

Can you elucidate sodapop? I still don’t get it. I didn’t think you could pay taxes here if you lived abroad. I honestly thought that was the whole point of the 180 day rule.

If not, why is it imposed at all?

I’m not doubting you by the way. I’m genuinely curious.

Petera Fri 28-May-21 09:47:33

Urmstongran

^It's also not clear-cut, I know people who live outside of the UK but pay their taxes inside the UK.^

Eh?
Sorry to be dim Petera but I thought the tax situation was the main crux of the 180 days +. 1 guidelines? Whichever you choose stay in the most gets your taxes?
🤔

No - it should be a simple as that but unfortunately not. People who have left the UK can still declare it as their 'residence' even if they never visit.

Callistemon Fri 28-May-21 09:47:44

Even though it would probably result in a resounding no in any the Scottish referendum, I still do not think this would be the right thing to do.

maddyone Fri 28-May-21 09:47:47

Don’t fall over Alegrias but I agree with you. If expats decide to return to the UK then of course they would, as citizens, be able to vote again. Fifteen years is reasonable, any longer is not. When people have decided to live abroad and pay their taxes to another country, and have stayed there for more than fifteen years, then in my opinion they should not have the right to contribute an opinion as to which government we have. That government will enact policies that effect those living in Britain far more than people not living in Britain. No one should ever lose their right to citizenship though, but that’s not being suggested.

Urmstongran Fri 28-May-21 09:50:39

So does that mean they are living ‘under the radar’ where they are then Petera? Which is obviously wrong.

I may of course have misunderstood you.

Alegrias1 Fri 28-May-21 09:54:01

Pass the smelling salts maddyone grin.

Doubly shocked because I agree with Urmstongran too - especially the post at 9:32!

Witzend Fri 28-May-21 09:55:32

If someone’s gone to live abroad, intending to stay there for good, I can’t see why they should have the right to vote after being away for 15 years.

It’s a bit different with expats who are abroad for work, but know they will return one day. We lived abroad for 13 years because that was where dh’s work took him, but it was never going to be permanent. Though having said that, during that time we wouldn’t have expected to be able to vote in U.K. elections. Not least because we weren’t paying UK tax, except (IIRC) on the rental income from our U.K. home.

We know several who stayed away rather longer than we did, but again, it was never going to be for good - they all returned eventually.

I know couples who retired to e.g. France or Spain, fully intending it to be for good, but returned when circumstances changed - either finances or illness, in particular one partner developing dementia and having completely forgotten the second language they’d become proficient in, which made help with care very difficult. Should such people have been allowed to vote ‘in case’?