UK government may rethink expat voting restrictions



British expats have been given the encouraging news that the UK government may now be willing to rethink their policy of stopping expats who have been out of the country for more than 15 years from voting.

A meeting of the House of Commons select committee took place earlier in the day where the topic of expat voting rules was raised. Reports from the meeting suggest that a change to the rule that prohibits expats who have been away from the UK for 15 years from voting is being “considered”.

Political and constitutional reform minister, MP Mark Harper, said: “On the issue of the time limit of 15 years, that's something the Government is considering at the moment. If we decide that we want to change that, that's obviously something that we will bring forward for decision in the House, it'll have to be a legislative change.”

However, despite this acknowledgment of the problem, some expats feel it isn’t enough. Anita Rieu-Sicart, one of the leading campaigners against the rule, said: “I found it somewhat disappointing, as you can imagine, that expat voters were mentioned and dismissed in less than two minutes in this discussion – these are people who very much want to be counted, who really want to vote, and should have the right to vote.