Ballots please, we’re British, on Politico.eu explains the reasons why British expats who have lived abroad for more than 15 years will be denied a vote in the upcoming referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU. Of course, it’s for entirely cynical reasons.
The Labour government of then Prime Minister Tony Blair pushed through the voting ban, ostensibly because it deemed long-term emigrants to have severed ties with the old country.
Privately, Labour politicians admit the party’s assumption that most expats vote Conservative may just have played a role.
Under pressure from campaigners like Shindler, David Cameron’s Conservative government promises a ‘votes-for-life’ bill to overturn the 15-year-rule before the next general election — but not in time to let overseas Brits vote on Brexit.
“The parliamentary process of the bill is completely controlled by Euroskeptics in the parliamentary Conservative Party,” said Roger Casale, CEO of New Europeans, an advocacy group that champions migrant voting rights.
“The Euroskeptics thought that if they give the vote now to British expats, they’ll vote to stay in and so it was quietly dropped,” Casale said by phone from London.
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