British expats given the right to vote in UK national elections, but it’s too late for Brexit
The British government’s decision to bolt the stable door following the departure of the horse named ‘Brexit’ will come as scant consolation to thousands of British citizens based in Denmark.
They, along with hundreds of thousands of Brits residing in the 27 other EU member states, were prevented from voting in the critical June referendum because they have lived outside the UK for more than 15 years or not registered to vote in a UK election in the past 15 years.
In time for 2020
On Friday, Chris Skidmore, the minister for the constitution, confirmed the government was preparing a bill to give Brits abroad a vote for life – thus honouring a pledge made in the Conservatives’ 2015 election manifesto.
The bill, as is customary, will need to be approved by the British Parliament’s House of Commons and House of Lords, and the British media are confident it will be law by 2020 – the probable date of the next general election.
Expats important to us … again
“Following the British people’s decision to leave the EU, we now need to strengthen ties with countries around the world and show the UK is an outward-facing nation,” explained Skidmore in an oped in the Daily Telegraph.
“Our expat community has an important role to play in helping Britain expand international trade, especially given two-thirds of expats live outside the EU.”
Affects around 15,000 in Denmark
There are an estimated 15,000 British citizens living in Denmark, and around 1.2 million who reside in the EU.
An increasing number have recently applied for Danish citizenship – a move that since 2015 has been possible without losing their British passport.