Satisfaction from anti-Brexit groups as Votes For Life Bill goes to committee stage

  • The Overseas Electors Bill aims to give Brits a vote for life, rather than a 15-year limit

Bremain in Spain has said that it “welcomes the progress made with the second reading of the Overseas Electors Bill” which aims to give Brits living abroad a 'vote for life' in UK elections, instead of the current 15-year cut-off period.

The second reading of the Private Member's Bill brought by Welsh Conservative MP, Glyn Davies, took place on Friday 23 February. It gained support from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat benches and opposition from some Labour MPs. It was supported by Mike Gapes MP, the president of Labour International. The bill was passed and will now go to the committee stage.

John Moffett, vice chair of Bremain in Spain, said in a press release, “In the centenary year of women getting the vote, it is fitting that the process of restoring the vote to overseas electors has begun. These people have been disenfranchised by the 15-year rule.”

Sir Roger Gale, Conservative MP for North Thanet, suggested that the Bill “should be renamed the Shindler Bill” after 96-year- old Votes for Life campaigner, Harry Shindler. A second world war veteran from the Battle of Anzio who now lives in Italy, Harry has fought to have the 15- year rule repealed.

According to an article written by Minister for the Constitution, Chloe Smith, on 23 February, under existing laws “British expats are estimated to have among the lowest level of voter registration of any group, with only around 20 per cent of eligible expats registered to vote for the June 2017 general election.”