Electoral Registration and Administration Bill. LORDS DEBATE
This Bill is already signalled on the Parliamentary timetable to be debated in the House of Lords – date to be announced – which could well be this next week.
This Bill has passed through the Commons. We thought we had won.. BUT ----
Whilst in the Commons Mr Clifton Brown, MP for the Cotswolds, introduced an amendment which would have given all British Citizens abroad the vote for Life. Then under pressure from the Liberal Democrat deputy leader (Mr David Heath) he withdrew. The excuse was that it was too difficult for the electoral returning officers to identify the potential overseas voters with the same integrity expected for domestic citizens. And more:-- in Mr Clifton Brown’s notice of withdrawal he said he would be satisfied if an amendment in the Lords was introduced which could extend the 15 year limit on voting. In tabling his amendment he had asked for removal of the 15 year limit. His words suggest that he might well have been anticipating an attempt to even reduce this time limit because of ill-perceived difficulties with registering the overseas voters!
Four Conservative MPs spoke extremely strongly in favour of life time votes for Citizens abroad including Mr Clifton Brown. Who? - made him change his mind?
The transcript from Hansard of part of this debate is available here.
If the Peers are not pushed hard – will any amendment be introduced? If an amendment is tabled will it require removal of the 15 year limit? Or another futile extension? Even a reduction?
Nick Clegg – Note that Nick Clegg is the sponsor of this Bill and note well that he is opposed to removal of the 15 year limit. In fact he is opposed to any change.
On Europe - Cameron is encouraging a future referendum on Europe. In this all British citizens living within the EU should have the right to vote (not just those resident in the UK). Those of us who live in EUROPE must be consulted.
The judgement of the European Court of Human Rights on the plea of Harry Shindler – the stalwart 90 year old veteran who lives in Italy – is still awaited. If that is positive the British Government despite opposition will have to change the law. The Government under human rights legislation will be required to grant the vote to us all.
View this Video interview with Harry Shindler.
That we may be assured that the lives we live are respected by the British Government (in business, public service, or simply as good citizens) – that the sacrifices that our military people, including our own families, have made on our behalf through the decades and still make, so that we may be free, are honoured–
So that we are not treated as second class citizens, but can say ‘We are proud to be British – We know Our Government is right behind us.
What you can do..
1. It is suggested that you email Mark Harper the Minister responsible in the cabinet office.
2. It is suggested that you ask your MP to try to influence any Peers with whom your MPs have contact.
Link to MPs and Peers email addresses……
3. If you can email particular Peers, even better.
Here are some points to raise.
- The grave disappointment caused when the clause removing the 15 year limit was withdrawn in Wednesday's 27th June debate
- The objection raised was invalid as the same difficulties raised in identifying qualified overseas voters exist under the current 15 year rule.
- The pleasure that four MPs spoke so well in favour of the permanent vote/representation, although the chamber was almost empty. If in the Lords an amendment is introduced which only suggests extension ( or indeed reduction) and not removal of the 15 year limit, nothing is achieved.
- We, who live in Europe (in common with all British citizens resident in the UK) must have the right to be consulted on the future of Britain in Europe . For that we need the vote.
- If your MPs have contacts in the Lords could they please transmit their feelings to such peers.
Please help to achieve a real Democracy for ALL British Citizens in the Parliament at Westminster.