Brits overseas campaign for the right to keep the vote
An iconic moment took place in Brussels earlier this month when 93 year old war veteran, Harry Shindler, met vice-president of the EU, Viviane Reding, in an attempt to gain backing from the EU in campaigning for a change to a British law that prevents British expats from voting if they have been living abroad for more than 15 years.
Mr Shindler came to Brussels as a representative of a group of campaigners that run the website www.votes-for-expat-brits.com and has commented that “This is the first time ever that expats have come together in an organised way to make their case to the commission. I welcome support given by the Commission and with support – and our own activity- we will win the democratic right owed to us to vote in the UK.” The campaigners are hoping to get the subject raised as a manifesto issue in time for the EU elections in May 2014, potentially regaining the vote in time for the expected general election in May 2015.
Mr Shindler also went on to say “Mrs Reding openly supported us and told us that the matter of votes for expats in the EU is of paramount importance and high up on the commission’s agenda. She wants to assist us, but not only Brits – anyone in Europe who has lost the vote.” The journey to Brussels started in early 2011 when the European Court of Human Rights gave the UK little over two weeks to explain the 15-year policy after Harry Shindler, who lives in Italy, challenged the law after he was told he was unable to vote in the 2010 general elections.
Currently only 6 EU countries in the 28 country list have a cut-off period for voting expats.
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