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Update on the Overseas Voting Bill

Dear John Rushton,

The Government has responded to the petition you signed – “Give all British citizens living abroad the right to vote and dedicated MPs”.

Government responded:

The Government remains committed to introducing ‘votes for life’ ahead of the next scheduled General Election in 2022 but has no plans to create overseas constituencies.

The Government’s principle is clear: participation in our democracy is a fundamental part of being British, no matter how far you have travelled. The Government remains committed to scrapping the 15 year limit on the voting rights of overseas electors ahead of the next scheduled General Election in 2022, subject to securing the necessary Parliamentary approval.

Glyn Davies’ Private Member’s Bill on Overseas Electors successfully passed its second reading in the House of Commons on 23 February 2018 and will now be moving on to the next stage of legislative passage. The Government spoke in favour of the bill during the debate. If it becomes law, this bill would implement the Government’s manifesto commitment to deliver ‘votes for life’. We encourage all eligible British citizens to register to vote, wherever they live.

The Government agrees that all British citizens who move to another country should be able to vote for a Member of Parliament to represent their interests. This would be the Member of Parliament representing the area in which an overseas elector previously lived.

The Government does not support the creation of parliamentary constituencies for overseas electors. We believe it is the right principle that overseas electors continue to have some form of connection to the area of the country where they were last resident. This is the approach taken generally in other democracies with overseas voting.

Cabinet Office

Click this link to view the response online:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/200005?reveal_response=yes

The Petitions Committee will take a look at this petition and its response. They can press the government for action and gather evidence. If this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, the Committee will consider it for a debate.

The Committee is made up of 11 MPs, from political parties in government and in opposition. It is entirely independent of the Government. Find out more about the Committee: https://petition.parliament.uk/help#petitions-committee

Thanks,
The Petitions team
UK Government and Parliament

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