Long-term British expats left out of General Election vote


TENS of thousands of British expatriates will NOT get a vote in the UK General Election on June 8.

Six months ago the British government said it would change the law so that longterm expats who had lived outside the UK for more than 15 years would get a vote in forthcoming polls.

But as Prime Minister Theresa May’s sudden General Election decision was confirmed yesterday (Wednesday April 19) by MPs in Westminster, it became obvious that the poll announcement had thrown a spanner in the works over the planned law change.

A British embassy official in Madrid admitted that while remaining committed to changing the law to enfranchise all British expats, “unfortunately there is not sufficient time to implement this for this General Election.”

The government announced plans to scrap the current 15-year limit in October 2016, but the parliamentary bills to amend the so-called ‘primary’ legislation have not yet been tabled.

Meanwhile, those eligible by virtue of having been registered to vote in the UK within the last 15 years must first ensure they are on the electoral role before applying for a postal vote.

If you registered to vote in last year’s local and mayoral elections, you may not need to re-register.

Otherwise, you can register online, for which you will need your National Insurance number and passport, by visiting https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote. Information on postal voting can be found at https://www.yourvotematters.co.uk/how-doi-vote/voting-by-post.


  1. Expats, please remember you need to re-register EVERY YEAR to avoid losing your voting rights even if you have been living abroad for less than 15 years. It is utterly shocking that we who pay taxes in Britain are not allowed to vote. “No taxation without representation” was the cry as far back as 1761 when American colonists objected to being taxed by the British government without being allowed to vote. And look what happened to America! Revolution! Independence! That’s what. Astonishing so little has changed in nearly 300 years.

    Even if you voted in last year’s Brexit referendum or the previous General Election you will not be allowed to vote in this one if you registered more than a year ago and have not re-registered. I wrote a comment about that in the EWN months ago when I predicted the likelihood of a snap election this year. (smug grin, tee hee!) Of course if you had been only 14 years as an expat last year I don’t need to tell you what happens to your voting rights now!

    In addition there is still the anomaly that we expats are not allowed to vote in local elections and Scots like me are not allowed to vote in Scottish parliamentary elections. I wasn’t even allowed to vote in the previous Scottish Independence referendum even though I WAS allowed to vote in the UK Brexit one! How bizarre is that? The whole system is a mess and it needs a complete overhaul to make it fit for the 21st century. PS. I recommend proxy votes. They don’t get lost in the post.

  2. Voting will be a desperate dilemma this time, in any case.

    Formerly a committed Conservative throughout what has been a long life, I very, very definitely don’t want to vote for May and her present gang … I have to think Britain would be better off without them — especially without May who, repeatedly, has demonstrated she actually has no principles of any wholesome kind. Has anyone stopped to recognise that “May” is half of “Dismay”.
    But who else? Probably not even “God knows”. Age not far off 90, I have to feel a bit glad I’m likely to have “gone” before this whole thing has worked its way through.

  3. I think Drew Edgar made a typo 15 not 10 years?

    So we knew when we vacated the UK we wouldn’t be eligible to vote after a period of time, since learning to Speak Spanish fluently & assimilating into the Spanish culture.

    Then why bitch on & why call ourselves “expats” not the “johnny foreigner” type eh? No, we are emigrants who have the privilege to live/work in another country.

    Oh I see why, it’s the “bremainers” unable to accept the democratic vote for a clean Brexit, seeking to cause mischief & division. ¡Qué sorpresa!


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