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VOTING RIGHTS FOR EXPATS

Comment 4th July 2010

This is a fundemental question of 21st century human rights that I pose to the new UK Government, why should we as British citizens be deprived of our right to vote after 15 years of living abroad. There are millions of us who could not vote during the last General Election. Those of us who live in EU countries only have the right to vote in Council and European elections in the country's we live or work in, we are disinfranchised for all other elections.

I count greatly on the Deputy Prime Minister to bring this question to the forefront. In France for example, French citizens living abroad never lose their right to vote. I think this question is very important in view of the future UK electoral reform. To be deprived of voting rights in one of the most democratic country's in the world is no longer acceptable.

We are many expats who have the same idea. We are trying to organise ourselves throughout Europe , and afterwards globaly to no longer be second class citizens.

The UK gave voting rights to women far before the majority of EU nations, so why does the UK deprive us as expats to have our say in national politics.

For EU expats there are only two choices, voting in the EU for all elections in our country of residence or keeping our right to vote in all UK elections except for Council and European Elections.

Thank you for taking this into consideration.

Lesley Joines

lesley.joines@yahoo.fr

Why does this matter?

My idea is important because we are becomming a very big lobby, everyday I meet people who can no longer vote in the UK, through Internet we are now able to be in contact globaly. I am a member of the Français de l'Etrangers, so that we can organise ourselves on their model. In Ferance they have Parlementary Representatives to look after their problems. We have no say in important questions, I am very involved in French politics and I am trying to increase the right to vote for EU Expats up to Regional Level, but as you can imagine the task is not easy. The Mayor of Cannes is great for local issues, as is my MEP, however when it comes to national policy's involving the French or English Government I have no say. If I was a French êrson living abroad I would still have my right to vote, but I will always keep my British Passport (I am very proud of it), but I will go to the highest EU Levels to protect my voting rights as a citizen.

You cannot imagine the number of UK expats who ask that the Government gives us back our right to vote. It must be difficult for people in the UK to understand how we as expats feel. I wopuld be happy to work with any ministry that could find a solution to our expat voting rights problem.

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