There was quite a cheer in our offices earlier this week when the petition to parliament calling for all expats to be given the vote in the forthcoming European Union referendum in Britain passed the 10,000 mark. Ten thousand expats across Europe had signed the petition in about the space of a week. Now, under British law, as soon as the petition reaches the 10,000 signatures the British government must respond. But four days after reaching the milestone and the British government have said nothing. Not a word. Now, we all know what the government is going to say but at the same time it would have been rather nice if they had said it sooner rather than later after all the hard work involved in raising the 10,000 signatures. The Cameron government will say that they are opposed to the present voting regulations, which means that only Britons who have lived outside the United Kingdom for fewer than 15 years can vote. They will insist that they want to change the law so that expats get the vote for life but there is not enough time before the referendum in June. And of course they are right. The petition has clearly underlined the fact that expats do want to vote and they are angry that their view on Europe will not be taken into account in June. The British government must act to give British citizens living abroad a better deal. The French have various members of parliament who was are responsible for French expats. Not a bad idea.
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