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British citizens living in EU countries should be guaranteed full voting rights

Comment 25th July 2010

As a British citizen who currently lives in another EU country I was dismayed to see that my right to vote in a British general election has been revoked. As I am not allowed to vote in a general election in my host country I have effectively been denied the right to vote in any national election.

It can be argued that as I am living away from Britain I should have no say in what happens there. But my host country, where I pay taxes, also says that I have no right to vote as I am not a citizen.

It can also be argued that I should take up citizenship of my host country. But why? The EU guarantees the right to move and reside freely within member states, not that I should change my citizenship each time I move countries. It should also not be forgotten that my right to vote in a British general election has been revoked by the British government, not the EU. Apparently, British citizens are penalised by their own government for believing in free movement within the EU.

I realize that any British government will see no political advantage in supporting this. After all, those who would complain are those who have had their vote taken away from them and are therefore, almost by definition, irrelevant to any political party.

British citizens should have the guaranteed right to vote, no matter where they live.

Why does this matter?

The right to vote is a fundamental right in any free democracy and should not be eroded under any circumstances. 

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