Votes for expats

Within the lifetime of this parliament - seems unlikely that as a UK citizen overseas for more than 15 years, I’ll be unable to register to vote in the local elections in May then, as parliament was due to be prorogued yesterday, and will only re-open after the local elections have taken place.

Morning RicePudding

I was under the impression that the voting rights only applied to General elections ?

Am I wrong ?


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Have to confess, I don’t actually know, as I haven’t followed assiduously, being a somewhat doubting Thomas as to it ever actually happening. Would be interested to know for sure though.

As someone who has not been in France 15 years yet, I still get my ‘Overseas vote’ - General elections only.

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The bill allowing UK citizens outside of the UK for more than 15 years has received Royal Assent (as promised in the Tory manifesto).
Curiously, very little (if no) mention in the UK press about Votes for Life but this one from Spain explains.

You and many others!!

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The independence of the Electoral Commission particularly.

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As far as I can gather - to be able to vote in the UK general elections one must be registered somewhere in the UK in a specific constituency. Does one also need an address in that constituency? If not, then why can’t one change constituency to somewhere more interesting/exciting/disputed?

My problem is that the last (and only) time I voted in the UK was in 1970 (I had just turned 21 and the voting age had just been reduced to 18!) in the East Belfast constituency. I have no real interest in voting there again. Can I not register to vote in Mr Johnson’s constituency?

Frankly, I see no point in my voting in a country I left over 50 years ago and in which I haven’t paid taxes for as long. The only interest would be to help the cause and vote the tories out!


I looked this up before the last GE and the consensus was that in principle, you could choose to vote anywhere you liked, and that you did not necessarily need a previous tie to the constituency you voted in. In practice however, if you tried to do that, you would be asked to register with a constituency you previously voted in.
I did wonder at that time what could happen if lots of us overseas voters registered in Boris Bunters constituency and voted him out :thinking::grinning:

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Do you have to register in person?
How many will even bother? I see this as a knee jerk reaction to not being able to vote in the referendum with minimal take up and of very little impact on any vote.

The campaign for votes for overseas nationals has been going for far longer than the 2016 referendum - maybe 20 years now. It has been in many government manifestos. Maybe people who have already lost their vote may not bother to re-establish it, but hopefully all those more recent arrivals will be able to continue voting. I still get a vote and the postal process will continue, which is not very time consuming or difficult.

You are registered at your last constituency, and every few years I seem to remember having to get a witness to your existence. A bit like pensions.

I know that the campaign has been going on for a long time ,but the big push came after brexit.Most people didn’t care one way or another before.
I don’t see how changing the rules will change anything as many still won’t vote.

And they wont vote because it would make bugger all difference. Unless there were MPs just for us emigrants and no way is that ever going to happen.

No, you don’t. You get in touch with the elections officer at the local council you used to have a vote registered with when you lived in that area.

It changes everything for those who have felt disenfranchised by having their vote removed after 15 years, me for one.
We all need to encourage those who don’t follow things as closely to get registered a.s.a.p., otherwise what you say will come true as people will have left it too late.
Remember - a UK general election could happen at any time as the fixed term parliament act has been removed.


Untrue. If you have a vote in a marginal constituency then you have some influence. Sadly the stupid UK voting system means that many votes don’t count, whether they are from people living there or not. The current train wreck of a government with a ridiculous majority are there with the votes of a minority of the people who actually bothered to vote.

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…and only about a quarter of the whole electorate!

Apologies if this point has already been raised - I haven’t read the whole thread - but is voting after emigrating really the right thing to do?

I get the argument that what happens in the UK affects us - but it only goes for some things, not for others. The danger is that emigrants will vote on a few issues - such as pensions - but neglect all the other issues that affect people’s everyday lives inside the country - the state of roads and public transport, for example, or subsidies for environmental retrofitting (home insulation, replacing gas boilers, etc).

Personally, I have only ever voted in the brexit referendum since moving to France, as I felt the issues there were of overwhelming importance to us and all our friends and relatives - but I don’t vote, on principle, in UK elections.


But surely that’s how many people vote. As a pensioner in the UK I am likely to be concerned about my pension. As a young mum with kids in the UK I am likely to be concerned about child allowance (does that still exists?) and the state of schooling and not give a stuff about pensions.

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Surely how your friends & relatives are treated by the government of a country of which you are a subject/citizen is enough reason to vote? In a way voting in the brexit referendum was more selfish for those of us living in Europe as it was going to/has deprived us of our EU citizen’s rights.
The other tack of “no taxation without representaton” is an equally strong reason to exercise your right to vote in the UK. That statement includes the taxes you paid historically in expectation of a UK pension.
For those with their healthcare covered by an S1 the behaviour of a UK government is especailly pertinent.