Will Prime Minister Rishi Sunak get the expat vote? | POOL


The 15-year cap on the right for British expats to vote in UK general elections has been scrapped and next month some three millions Britons living overseas will be able to reclaim their right to vote in the forthcoming general election.

Back in April, Conservative MP and Deputy Speaker of the House, Sir Roger Gale, who has for decades championed the rights of British expatriates, was informed that British expats would be given the right to vote for life ahead of the next general election in the UK.

Former PM Tony Blair introduced a 15 year cap for the expat vote in the UK, however, it appears that it has finally been scrapped.
Baroness Scott of Bybrook OBE stated in a letter to Sir Roger “the current intention remains that votes for life will be delivered ahead of the next General Election. The secondary legislation to deliver the overseas electors change is expected to be made and come into force in January 2024.

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“Currently, eligible British citizens living overseas can apply to be on the electoral register in the local authority where they were last registered.

To register as an overseas elector an individual must be a British citizen resident outside the UK who:
• Has been registered to vote in UK Parliamentary Elections as resident in the UK within the previous 15 years, OR
• Left the UK when they were too young to have registered to vote, provided their parent or guardian was registered at the place where they were last resident in the UK. This is also subject to a 15-year limit, from when the individual left the UK.

Going forward, an individual applying to register as an overseas electors will apply to register in respect of:
• the last UK address at which they were registered, or
• if they were never registered, the last UK address at which they were resident.
Currently, those who were too young to be registered to vote when they left the UK can rely on a parent/guardian’s previous registration. Going forward the intention is that those who were too young to be registered to vote when they left the UK will instead be eligible to vote by virtue of their own previous residence in the UK. They will not need to rely on a parent’s previous registration or residence.
So, the big question is with the Brits abroad vote to save Sunak?