voting for overseas residents

All British citizens should have the right to vote in general elections. Currently this right is withdrawn if you have been living overseas for more 15 years. This regulation even affects people who are still UK tax payers and British children born overseas. Mr Clegg was asked about this situation on a recent visit to Spain and fumbled some silly excuse about citizenship "slipping away". How can rights slip away? Before there is any change to the voting system, it is necessary to ensure that the basic right to vote is restored to all citizens.

Why does this idea matter?

Free movement of citizens is central to the concept of the EU. This means that peoples' rights must be protected. The right to vote is a fundamental right within any democracy and it is the responsibility of the UK government to protect this right for all its citizens. In my own case I would prefer to vote in my country of residence because it is also where I pay taxes, but failing this I would at least insist on being able to vote in my country of nationality. In most European democracies citizens never lose their right to vote, as Mr Clegg knows very well (his wife is a Spanish citizen and is able to vote in Spanish general elections irrespective of the years she has spent overseas). It is senseless to insist on voting reform on the basis of fairness as long as hundreds of thousands of British citizens are deprived of the fundamental right to vote.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*