Palma.—Taking advantage of the fact that the Prime Minister is currently on holiday with his family in the north east of the island, Niblett said yesterday that as far as many Conservative expatriates are concerned, the burning issue is scrapping the 15-year voting rule introduced by the former Labour Government. “I have met and addressed many Conservative expatriates at international conferences and there is a very wide consensus that this rule needs to be abolished. “Cameron should take into account that there are 2.5 million Britons living overseas, that is the same size as the population of the conurbation of the West Midlands. “But, those who have lived abroad for over 15 years no longer have a voice or a vote in the United Kingdom and we consider that unfair. “Nor it is good for the Conservative party. “Had there been no 15-year rule in place at the last election, Cameron could have picked up an extra 16 seats and that would have given him an absolute majority. “Those seats which we lost by just a few hundred votes could, and I am sure would, have been secured with the overseas vote,” Niblett said yesterday. “It is discriminatory and unfair considering we have all spent our lives paying taxes in the UK but are then stripped of our right to vote after 15 years,” he added.

Lord Lexden “What is more, think of all the people who have been posted overseas and will eventually return to the UK with their family or still have family there. It is not as if we've all turned our backs on Britain and no longer care. “However, there is hope. In a major speech on the Second Reading of the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill in the Lords on July 24, Lord Lexden welcomed the government's commitment to making the UK's electoral registers as accurate and complete as possible, and argued strongly that the existing 15-year limit on the voting rights of British citizens overseas should be abolished and I know he is going to officially call for the bill to be amended to include that the 15-year rule is abolished,” Niblett said yesterday. “We certainly do not want it changed because, should Labour return to government, they will just reduce it again. We want it abolished,” he stressed.
And, based on the fact that there are some 2.5 million British expatriates, Niblett also urged the Prime Minister, who flew to Majorca with Ryanair on Monday afternoon, to consider following the example set by the French and having an MP who is responsible for the concerns and welfare of Britons living overseas. “I think these are the two key factors Conservatives abroad would like David Cameron to take on board and when possible address, hopefully in favour of British expatriates,” Niblett added.

The Prime Minister is on the island with a “working office” and there were reports from the UK yesterday that he is planning an Autumn cabinet reshuffle during his Majorcan holiday.

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