This year I have been living outside of the UK for 15 years, on that anniversary I was told by the British Government I no longer have the right to vote there.
I was expecting this for some time, it came as no surprise, that was just the rule. The council I last registered to vote sent me an email with a PDF letter attached explaining the rule. I still have assets there I am a little miffed by a lack of voice I am not able to provide.
I was a member of Labour International, part of the British Labour Party. I cancelled that membership about 12 months ago since I knew 15 years was coming up. I couldn’t see the point in wasting money if I didn’t have a voice in elections.
In 2021, the government announced that it would be doing away with the 15 year rule, this was announced during the Queen’s Speech.
This Guardian article provided some background to this as well.
The Elections Act 2022 which received Royal Assent on 28 April 2022 outlined the removal of the 15-year rule. Despite the Act changes won’t come into effect until 2024, this is detailed somewhat in the Overseas Voters document on the House of Commons Library.
I was disappointed to see that the Labour Party wanted to retain the 15-year rule so dropping it appears to be a Conservative Party project. I wonder if it would be quite a job to verify and manage a large intake of voters who have been “off the grid” for some time.
Will This Really Happen?
That is what I ask myself, despite being a Conservative Party initiative I don’t trust politicians to make this so, in other words, seeing is believing. I will be happy to vote if it does happen though.