THE Association of British Expats in Italy fronted by Harry Shindler, a 94-year-old Second World War veteran who took part in the 1944 liberation of Rome and married an Italian woman before retiring to Italy more than 30 years ago, have indicated that they may be forced to sue the British government over the right to vote in the upcoming referendum.
Although it was part of the conservative party’s manifesto to change the law to allow those who have been out of the UK for more than 15 years to vote, they have done nothing to enter any new legislation in time for June 23, 2016. Despite the matter being raised in the house recently following a huge number of signatures on a petition on the 10 Downing Street website, the government says that there is insufficient time make arrangements.
Mr Shindler had previously appealed to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the matter of the right to vote generally without any positive response, but the government ironically indicated that it believes that UK citizens should have the right to vote for life, provided that they have time to arrange it.
His organisation has appointed the law firm Leigh Day to represent them in a legal challenge, as they believe the arbitrary exclusion breaks EU laws and they will be asking a High Court judge to rule on whether to allow a judicial review to go forward. If they are successful the government may either have to delay the referendum or push through new legislation very quickly.