I have lived in Paris since I retired in 2007. I opted for postal voting in 2010. I was denied my voting rights by not receiving my 'postal' papers until the day after the election, and I gathered that thousands of others, including the armed services on deployment, suffered the same fate. Because of this experience my husband and I travelled to London to cast our votes in person in the EU referendum. No other country sets a 'use-by' date for its citizens' democratic rights. My Britishness will not expire after 15 years, but it looks as if my rights will.
I have lived in Germany since 1992. As far as I can see, my only possibility to vote is for the lord mayor of our town. Was disgusted to learn of the 15 year rule. Especially as no attempt was made to contact me.
I live in Switzerland since October 2001
I have lived and worked in France for 38 years, with a French wife and 3 bi-national, bi-cultural and bi-lingual children, of whom I am exremely proud. I have always felt that we were part of an open-minded, tolerant and progressive society, Europe, which allowed me to retain my culturally British identity whilst blending in to my French home. Stupidly I ignored the fact that being disenfranchised 23 years ago effectively put an end to my Britishness in terms of rights. Being European, it didn't seem to matter. Brexit shows that it did. Belatedly, I now support the movement for votes for expat Brits. I wish I had done so many years ago.
I have lived and worked in Denmark since I was young, when I was employed at the British Embassy in Copenhagen, after which I was employed by The World Health Organization's (WHO) Regional Office for Europe.
It has been a source of irritation and anger that I lost my right to vote in the UK, in spite of the fact that I am a first-generation UK citizen, especially in view of the fact that citizens of numerous other EU Member States retain a lifetime vote in their countries of origin.
It is about time that we are granted a vote for life, putting us on an equal footing with others.
Brexit makes it even more imperative that our vote in the UK be restored.
As others have commented, a considerable number of retirees would vote Conservative, so please ensure that immediate action is taken.
Where's our vote? as a passport holding UK expat whose life will be just as affected as anyone living in the UK the surely I and a couple of million others like should have been eligible to vote! they omitted a couple of million very interested parties that almost certainly would have stopped this joke of a so called referendum in it's tracks.
So, where is our vote?
I have lived in Germany since 1975 and have never voted in my life. I am not German, so I can not vote in German elections and I was 16 when I left the UK so I have never voted in the UK. I am keenly interested in UK politics and it is inexplicable that I can not not participate in the democratic process.
I have lived in Denmark since 1972. Until the law was changed last year making it possible have joint citizenship, it did not occur to me to apply for Danish citizenship. I was happy with my status as an expat Brit in Denmark. After all Britain and Denmark are both member states of.the EU and I have a very strong sense of European identity. Just after Brexit I send in my application for Danish citizenship and I hope it is granted before Britain finally leaves the EU. In the meantime my interest in British politics has been sharpened. I have joined the Lib Dems and given the chance, would most certainly vote in British elections.
I am now retired and living in the UK, having returned to the UK in 2008. I am however in contact with former colleagues in the countries where I have worked as an English teacher (France, Spain, Kuwait, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia). Some who are married to overseas spouses are seriously considering taking up citizenship of their spouses and children. The 15-year time limit rule we have in the UK has badly affected those working overseas and in the EU - these people are most affected by the results of the EU referendum. The present government says it is considering removing the time limit rule, but that is too late for the last referendum and the results unless there is a second EU referendum. Countries like Spain and France do not have the time limit rule for their citizens and can vote wherever they are living. Indeed France has a deputy for all French citizens living in Northern Europe, which means mostly the UK!
I served in HM Forces for 33 years after which I was discharged locally in Germany in 1996 and have remained here with my German born wife our daughters and grand children ever since. All my working life I have been a British Tax Payer and still am today through my forces pension. I vote in local and European elections and find it absolutely disgusting that I am not allow to vote in the country of my birth and to which I pay taxes. I was not able to vote in the referendum (I did ask) I would have voted to remain, and now I find my livelihood endangered due to the fall of the Pound and eventually loss of my status as an EU resident. I have no wish to become an immigrant nor change my Nationality, or have to request a visa to visit my homeland.
I have lived in Austria since 1981. I can vote here in local and European parliamentary elections but once Britain leaves the EU I will be totally disenfranchised. Being given back the right to vote in the UK would help. However, as successive British governments have never bothered about the ex-pat community I cannot see this happening soon.
I moved to Paris in 1964 and then to Brussels in 1966. At the time I believe expats were denied the right to vote. When they did get it, 5 years then 20 years ( which Blair reduced to 15 ) was the applied ''time bar''. In these instances this left me each time unable to vote in U..K. elections. Result : the so-called ''Mother of Democracy'' has deprived me of the right to vote throughout my entire life. Had I been born in a Continental country like France, and gone to life in London in 1964, I would have been allowed to vote in French national elections. I come from a fairly active family politically speaking in England, and I guess that I have a better grasp of what goes on in Westminster than many voters living in the U.K. But this all shows that Britain, having not signed all the aricles of the Human Bill of Rights, has no qualms about depriving citizens of them.
Lived in France since 2008 but STILL British citizen and therefore should be entitled to vote in the UK
Resident in France since 2004 and before that in Belgium for 30 years, so deprived of a vote for many years! Following referendum results, considering taking French nationality
Living in Switzerland for many years. I can vote here but not in England
I just watched the three-hour parliamentary debate on the question of "Rules triggering a second EU referendum" held in response to the 4 million-plus signatures calling for this. I waited anxiously for comments on the situation of UK nationals living, working etc. in other EU countries but heard only three references, none of which noted that many of us are disenfranchised and could not therefore vote in the referendum. While many of the speakers spoke passionately about democracy, none mentioned the gaping hole in British democracy that is this disenfranchisement. We are quite simply second class citizens with second class passports. We will have no representation in the forthcoming Brexit and will have to cope with whatever the champions of democracy decide for us.
I have lived in Luxembourg and Brussels for 42 years and have been disenfranchised the entire time, since I left the UK. Worked for 35 years as an EU civil servant so it's then ironic that I get no vote in the EU referendum. The fact that during all these years colleagues from 27 member states did get to vote in their national elections, and only the Brits didn't, is not only undemocratic but pure discrimination!
I am coming up to 15yrs in Spain and feel ignored by my home country UK After years working paying taxes and everything I wont be able to vote soon. No taxation without representation . Give us the vote! Bet this is easy compared to the Brexit shambles
I have lived in France for 26 years,teaching English and employed as a French civil servant. I supported all the campaign to have a vote in the referendum on Brexit to no avail.I voted in British elections during the fifteen years that it was allowed. I feel very strongly that it isn't right that I have no general election vote anywhere.I contribute to the British economy paying local tax,as I own a flat in the UK.
Spain: 26 years
I am disgusted by the cynical disenfranchisement of so many British expatriates. It is a clear and flagrant violation of our constitutional rights.
Who represents us now that BREXIT has been decided by a referendum skewed by the exclusion of millions of British expats?
Who will defend our rights?
I have been living in Italy for over 30 years. Votes for expats!
I have lived in France 9 years.
I am in the same position as many commenting here: I have lived in France for 27 years, and have no desire to return to the UK even if I could afford to do so), having built a house here. I feel european and I am infuriated that the British Government seems set on removing the UK from Europe, but I had no vote in the momentous decision.
I live in Hong Kong. Since the EU Referendum I have become motivated to vote and contribute to UK politics. I do not plan to return to the UK but want to ensure that I still have a voice in the country my friends and family live in and I don't want that to have a time limit.
Having lived in Germany since 1979, the time has come for our voices to be heard in the UK. Living outside of the UK should not exclude our right to be democratically heard.
Living in Spain for 32 years
Because of the systematic de-industrialisation of the UK throughout my adult life I have found it necessary to be living and working abroad since the early 90s. I'm rapidly approaching the end of my useful working life without any significant pension to fall back on. My exit plan had been to see out my later years in a much more affordable EU and take short contract jobs under the freedom of movement in the EU. Thanks to Brexit my plans have been blown sky high, and our future looks very bleak indeed! We are now hoping for Parliament to end this madness. Sadly, as I'm in Qatar, I am not in a position to start applying for citizenship of one of the remaining EU countries.
I was incensed that I was deprived of my vote in the referendum, only a 600,000 vote swing would have secured our continued membership, a near certainty if expats were allowed to vote?
Having lived here in Germany for 36 years I was so fed up of being. 'non person' i.e. a person not permitted to vote in a general election either here or in my home country the UK, that I applied for and was granted German citizenship last year. This form of forced 'electoral neutering' seems absurd, particularly in the light of the European Idea - but considering recent events in the UK, it is not surprising I guess. I'd like to add that I have been a local councillor here in Germany for the past 6 years, but without the right to vote in a general election. Now at last I feel I have a voice again. I thoroughly endorse the effort being made to reclaim the right to vote for all expats!
I share the fury and frustration of most posting here, having been unable to vote in the UK referendum despite holding British nationality.
I live in France and will be applying for French nationality as soon as I can get together the relevant paperwork. After the shambles of the referendum I have no desire to leave my future in Europe in the hands of UK politicians and negotiators.
I will be following with interest Harry Shindler's attempt to take his case against denial of voting rights to the UN and would be keen to help if I can...
The electoral commission says: "Voting is your democratic right as a citizen of the UK." (http://www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/register-to-vote). Not true. This unfair, arbitrary and hurtful law needs to be changed. UK citizenship is my birthright and so should be the right to vote on decisions that affect me and my family.
I have lived in Italy for 25 years and can vote neither here nor in the UK. I agree there needs to be an emergency petition for expats without a vote in conjunction with the demand for a second referendum because our vote would have made the difference in the first one: There are 2 million UK citizens living in Europe and this was about us. Yes, I agree the case should be brought before the European Court of Human Rights.
I am British living in Belgium and I didn’t vote in the referendum because:
Despite getting a letter of thanks from the Prime Minister for manning the telephones at the British Embassy in Brussels when the Herald of Free Enterprise went down in 1987;
Despite being voted a “Highly Ranked Commercial Officer” by UK companies (published in the Telegraph in 2006);
Despite receiving a commendation in 2011 signed by the Foreign Secretary William Hague for “25 years loyal service and contribution to the advancement of British interest overseas” for my work at the UK Representation to the EU;
Despite , during those years, helping many UK companies big and small to win contracts on EU funded projects all over the world (worth many millions of Euros);
Despite ,because of my work and contacts with both the European Commission and other EU Member States, knowing a fair bit about how it all works;
AND despite paying UK taxes all that time;
I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE IN THE REFERENDUM as I had lived outside the UK for more than 15 years.
I couldn’t have done any of those things to help my country by sitting on my backside in the UK. And, while I was doing those things, my children and grandchildren were growing up here. But the Supreme Court, in its Supreme wisdom, decided people like me shouldn’t be given the vote (at the moment).
So what should I, a 70 year old widow, living here in a foreign country, do now? Leave my home and family and move back to the UK? (assuming it still exists)
Or toddle down to the Town Hall tomorrow morning and apply to become Belgian?
NO CONTEST!!! Belgium and the European Union I’m here to stay - or perhaps I should say REMAIN!
I live in Japan, and the end of July marks the 15th year since I left England.
According to my county council back in England, I'll lose the right to vote this November.
The Chief Justice's claim that suffrage should be denied because of "weakening ties with Britain" is as muchof an embarrasment as the recent racist behaviour demonstrated by the British people in the wake of the EU referendum result.
Video calls, emails, Facebook and other technologies allow people to stay in daily communication regardless of the distance or time difference.
Claiming that ties with a mother country will be weakend by living elsewhere is just an excuse for the poor management of personal information by the British government.
An article in The Guardian reads:
The ruling also noted that there would be “significant practical difficulties about adopting, especially for this referendum, a new electoral register which includes non-resident British citizens whose last residence in the UK was more than 15 years ago”.
This is also ridiculous. Embassies and consulates could be considered as electorial registration offices and equipped to handle such a function quite easily. Expats are (or used to be?) encouraged to register with their local embassy or consulate in case of emergency situations such as acts of god, terrorism, etc. so the British government would have had the contact information of registered expats to hand anyway.
Link to the Guardian Article:
... and yes, I too would like to see the case brought before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
I've lived in various countries, because my work as a translator requires me to live and work abroad, since 2000.
In the meantime, I have paid income tax, council tax and voluntary national insurance contributions in the UK. I maintain family ties, property and friendships in the UK, and visit frequently.
NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION!
Since 2015, I can't vote in the UK; nor can I vote in France, where I have lived for seven years, either.
Most infuriating of all, I have been denied the right to vote in the European referendum, the result of which directly affects me - and my young daughter - far more than any Little Englander.
I want to see the law denying me representation changed. I am both British AND European.
I have been resident in Germany since 1974, when my husband was seconded by his British firm to work in its office and factory in Hamburg. So far we have retained our British nationality and we have a second home in the UK However we were denied one of our most fundamental human and civil rights as UK citizens, namely a vote in the EU referendum. Should we expats not bring a case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg?
I have lived and worked in France for 25 years.
Married to a French woman, we have a dughter who has dual nationality. Iam completely disgusted that so many of us, who have lived out a large part of our lives as the oft-cited ' ambassadors for Britain', should have been excluded from this over-ridingly important vote (and other UK voting procedures as well). Like many others, not having French nationality, I am also excluded from voting in national French elections. When living in Britain I devoted much time to working for Amnesty International. How ironic that at this stage of my life I should become one of the world's democratically unrecognised....ironic and, ultimately, deeply shameful.
I moved to Germany in 1989. I have British nationality and not German.
Until now I didn't think it important to be able to vote in the UK anymore. The politics in Germany are the ones that affect me most but I cannot vote on a national level here either.
The referendum though affects me directly in my chosen country of residence - it doesn't just affect the people in the UK. Therefore I now feel cheated of my right to vote.
I have lived and worked in two E.U member states since 1978 ; I took advantage of the opportunities Britain's membersip meant as did many of my generation.I can see no valid reason or explanation as to why the recent referendum ignored my basic human voting rights...I am British , living in the E.U and voiceless and powerless. I do not understand why Brits in Gibraltar could vote but not us. I feel badly let down by the Britsh voting system ...it seems that George Orwell was right yet again ... ´ all Brits are equal but some are more equal than others'. A final word in response to the shameful NHS video used by Britexiters...I worked in the NHS before our entry into the E.U and believe me there were queues,understaffing and medical staff back discontent in the 'good old days' !
I've come to this site after signing the petition for a second referendum. If you haven't done so yet, I urge all of you who read this to sign as well. Besides this, we should also be thinking of sending a second parliamentary petition for the fifteen-year voting rule to be lifted so we can exercise such a basic right as being able to have our say on our future.
As for my personal situation, it is the following. I am a British resident in Valencia, Spain, where I live with my Spanish wife and our Anglo-Spanish son. Fifteen years ago I passed a competitive exam for a teaching post in the state education system, which makes me a minor civil servant. I've never applied for Spanish citizenship simply because it wasn't necessary to. Now Brexit's changed all that. In Spain you have to be Spanish to be a civil servant or be a national of an EU member state. First thing tomorrow morning I'll be looking up lawyers to help me process my application for Spanish citizenship.
My own country, the nationality of which I have never given up despite living in France for 25 years, has stripped me of a basic, democratic human right - to vote in referendum which has a direct consequence on my identity as a citizen of that country.
I am British and European. Now, thanks to misinformed and naive bigots, I can no longer combine both. Nor can the future generations of the UK (how will it be renamed now as it is no longer united). Luckily, I have the option of adopting another nationality - unlike the British youth. Until now, I have always rejected this option, being proud of my Britishness. Now my country has left me with no choice!
I came to France on a two year contract in 1979. Then I met my husband (who is Chinese) and decided to stay for a bit longer. In 1985 I considered returning to UK, but decided to take up the offer of a job in Paris rather than in the Civil service in UK. There was never a specific decision to stay in France it just happened. As a result I am now unable to vote in any national elections, being barred from UK by the 15 year rule and in France as I am not French. For me this is undemocratic and deprives me of a fundamental civic right. In particular this is unacceptable in the case of the referendum on the Brexit as those who will be most affected by it have not been allowed to express their views and yet they will be the most affected by the UK leaving the EU. How can they say the British people have spoken? I think this referendum should be considered null and void and reprogrammed at a date when all British citizens can participate.
I have never considered taking any other nationality as my children all feel profoundly British and speak English as their mother tongue even though they are unable to pass this heritage onto their own children because of another restriction on British citizens. My son and his wife live and work in London and my two girls both dream of living in England. All my children have dual nationality (British and French - because of this non eligibility to vote for British citizens abroad) with the result that my son can vote both in England and in France, whereas I can vote nowhere and have not been able to do so for the last 17 years. Is this democracy or egality of rights?
I've been living here for over 25 years.
I can't vote in Italy and I can't vote in the UK.
A bag of beans.
I've lived in Germany since 1990. It is scandalous that UK citizens who have lived abroad for over 15 years should not be able to vote in the EU referendum, and should not have a say in what will affect them directly. I'm completely disenfranchised, not able to vote in parliamentary elections either in Germany or the UK. If Britain is taken out of the EU, I won't be able to vote in elections for the EU parliament either. Not to the prospect of future uncertainty on how an exit decision would affect my life.
I have been living in the United States for 32 years. At one time I was able to vote in British elections but that right was removed some years ago. Yet another stitch-up by U.K. government. The denial of pension increases to British expatriates who have paid their contributions but have the misfortune to live in a Commonwealth country is another example. A long history of broken promises over many years by both major parties ( when in opposition ) to put right a shameful injustice.
I've lived and worked in Germany since 1994. I too am deeply frustrated over not being able to vote in the upcoming referendum. Those that are most affected and probably best informed have no say in the decision. That is not democratic and the outcome will certainly not represent all britsh people, however the vote goes.
As it will effect us all we must vote stay
We have lived in Spain since 2002,we love life here, and dread the thought of having to return to the u.k as many ex-pats do. We are British and should have a right to vote especially as it might affect our future.
I've lived and worked in Germany for the last 22 yrs. Only discovered quite recently that I'm now disenfranchised by the 15 yr rule. Now applying for German citizenship so that I can carry on being European if Britain votes Out on June 23rd.
I have lived in Australia for 58 years and have supported the English Cricket Team (especially against Australia) throughout and I reckon that entitles me to vote!
I support Brexit!
I have been living for over thirty years in Germany and have paid regular visits to the UK during this period. Thus I consider myself to be well qualified to vote in the Brexit referendum. I see no justification for excluding expats from this vote, especially as the result might closely affect them. What happened to the British sense of fairness ?
I worked for 23 years in the UK then since 1998 I have worked in France. I consider myself firstly British but always part of the Eoropean community with all the opportunities for work and career development that gives. To be denied voting rights on Brexit is a scandal and discrimanatory against a large group of British citizens who will be the most impacted by an exit vote. Postal votes have been available for all other elections why is the most important one,Brexit being denied to expats?
I have lived in Luxembourg since 1982
Despite the great work of Harry Schindler, I think it is time to make contingency plans for the situation that his appeal for reason fails. In that case we had better have a vote by June 23rd of all those disenfranchised by the UK who are British Citizens resident in Europe. Given that we may shortly be left stranded outside the UK by the action of those British Citizens living in the UK with the collusion of the UK Government, our vote could nevertheless be crucial in decision-making at the European level on our future should the "official" vote be a narrow one in favour of leaving. Of course our vote would have to be done in a foolproof way, with one vote per eligible person per address in Europe, so that the results stand up to scrutiny.
Is there any plan to do this? In which case now would be the time to advertise it!
I've lived and worked in France for over 25 years, however my connection to the UK is very strong and I return approx once a month for a few days to help care for my sick elderly mother. I still own property there, make tax declarations, have a pension, bank accoutns and credit cards. I find a lot of ex-pats in my position are more patriotic than many residents of the UK and we guard our citizenship passionately. To be denied the vote in a decision that could, in the future, impact on our status in our current country of residence is I feel a breach of our human rights.
I have lived in Italy since 1981, but I have always kept my connection with the UK. Not being able to vote in a referendum which is not an abstract thing, but something concrete, involving my past, my present and my future is simply not acceptable, nor legal in my view.
Scandinavia and German. What happened to the promise in 2014/15 from David Cameron? As part of his campaign promises was clearly stated, that he would cancel the 15-year-rule and do an in-out referendum. WHY did he carry out his word on the latter, and neglect the former? This is completely out of order.
I am as pro Britain as one can be, and I am for the European project and our integral place within the EU: I want our generation and the one coming to CONTINUE to have access to the same rights of life, study and work, as I and hundreds of thousands of fellow Britons have on the continent, and that other Brits back home especially the older generation to realise, just what they are potentially cut us off from. I don't want us as UKIP fantasies to be stuck with either the commonwealth or the anglo-saxon world—how limiting and boring—I want us and the coming generations to have full access to our neighbours, to a richer affordable diversity of European culture and life opportunities in terms of work, studies, etc.
Cutting us off, who live in other EU-countries makes the IN-side in this referendum underrepresented. This is not just a shame, it is unjust.
I have lived in Europe since I was a child - first in Germany and now in the Netherlands. It was not my descision to leave Britain and returning was never really an option due to family ties on the continent. In spite of not being in the UK I was brought up to be 'British' and value my nationality. Giving it up to become German or Dutch never entered my head - even though always being the 'foreigner' comes with its own set of disadvantages - of which never having been able to vote in any General Election is merely the most obvious! I accept these disadvantages - being British means more to me. Or I did till this referendum came along in which I will - once again - not be allowed to vote due to an arbitrary law the British government knows to be wrong and outdated and which it promised to change. That governments do not fullfil their promises is a sad fact of life but what is worse is the treatment we have received by the High Court. Formally their ruling may be in accordance with the law but materially it contradicts every democratic principle imaginable. Being an Expat is not illegal it is our right yet we are being treated like convicted criminals serving a jail sentence. Our entire lives are being put in jeopardy and we are not even allowed a voice and why? Because giving us a vote would pose 'significant practical difficulties'. And to top it all off the internet is full of gleeful comments by my so-called 'countrymen' applauding this decision saying that the referendum has nothing to do with us as we bug....d off to swig Sangria in the sun and we should have come back (or better still never left) if we'd wanted a vote. Apart from the fact that this is a blatant display of very Un-british schadenfreude delivered - more often than not - in language better suited to a drunken brawl than a portal for comments on a serious matter it shows their total ignorance of and/or indifference to the many reasons people have for leaving the UK - not to mention a lack of imagination when it comes to realising the problems people face and the resulting impossibility of simply dropping everything and returning.
I am absolutely disgusted by the treatment we are receiving from our politicians, our judicial system and a lot of our fellow Britons. I realise that our votes may tip the balance in a direction certain elements of our society would not wish for but is that fear a good enough reason to abandon what is are quintessential British values: democracy and fair play?
I'm outraged that the UK citizens with the most to lose if we leave the EU have no right to vote in the referendum. I currently live in Latin America, lived in Spain for 8 years before that and am about to move to the Netherlands. I'm terrified that the UK will end up leaving and am already looking into getting Irish citizenship through my grandmother in order to keep my EU rights.
I currently live in central Pennsylvania. I came to the US in 1992 for graduate school. I became a US resident in July 2001 and thus will have been a US resident for 15 years this coming summer. However, I lost my UK vote after 15 years outside the UK despite being a UK resident (student visas are not residency). I have had no vote anywhere for several years.
I have lived in Belgium under the new EEC/EU rules on freedom of movement of labour since 1977. Here, I am geographically closer to my home city, London, than are many places in the UK. The family house, where my daughter lives, is still in London and I am frequently there. How much more of a closer tie do I need!?
Having worked in the UK for more than 15 years before moving to Luxembourg I feel I should still have a right to vote in a country I contributed to and paid tax in for many years.
I have lived and worked (and paid taxes) in an EU country outside the UK for over 16 years. It is appalling that over a million UK passport holders that have shown a clear commitment to Europe and the European Union should be disenfranchised from the referendum on EU membership.
Is anyone proposing that only Britons who have visited an EU member state other than their own within the last 15 years are eligible to vote in the referendum? That would be no more ludicrous.
Having come to France from Jersey and previously the U.S.A. and prior to that, France, I had not been registered to vote in the U.K. but, being a child of Europe, appearing at roughly the same time as the Common Market was created, and realising the full extent of what could happen if Britain voted no in the upcoming referendum, and what the direct consequences for me would be, I am outraged at not being able to vote. I have registered with the law firm Leigh and Day who are dealing with this. Happy to exchange on this.
All British expats, living in Europe and around the world, should be able to vote in the forthcoming EU Referendum, and in UK General Elections, no matter how long they have lived outside the UK. That fundamental right should never have been withdrawn.
Family and I have lived in France since March 2007. We're not returning to the UK, whatever the Referendum brings, but that should be our right, we should not need to live in limbo as we are doing - as are millions of British expats!
I have lived in Spain for 16 years. I pay tax and national insurance and I an also a house owner here. However, I am without the right to vote in Spanish general elections and now without a vote in the UK.
I've lived in Germany for 16 years so I'm now unable to vote for any country's government. I have a house in the UK, I pay tax in the UK, I'm a member of a UK political party, I always used my vote while I could.
It's blatantly unfair.
As far as I know, the Tories made a pledge before the last election to sort out the problem for people who've been living abroad for 15 years if they got back in. Here's a link to the news article
I'm not sure if they actually put it in their manifesto, but don't you think we should remind them what they said?
Lived in Belgium for 17 years. I want to vote in referendum.
I have lived in Italy for over 40 years and like most of the other contributors, I am incensed at not being able to vote in the forthcoming referendum. I have written to Mr Cameron twice asking him how he intends addressing the issue but unsurprisingly have received no reply. This deplorable disinterest makes me suspect that Cameron really wants "out" otherwise how does one explain this missed opportunity of getting votes from expats who I believe would mostly vote to remain in the EU. Coming after the passport reissuing farce 2 years ago where expats were deliberately excluded from the "fast track" I realise that I am a "2ND CLASS "Uk citizen. I've had enough. I'm going to renounce British citizen ship and become Italian !!!
Before marrying a Gderman and leaving England for Germany I taught successfully in British schools for nearly thirty years, and if that doesn't qualify me to vote, then what does?
I have lived as a British citizen in Germany since 1989 and as such have lost my right to vote in the UK under the 15-year rule. This is a fundamental problem which the EU must address if it continues to allow the freedom of movement of labour across borders. Depending on the outcome of the forthcoming referendum over UK EU membership and the consequences for EU citizens living in the EU I may have to consider surrendering my British citizenship and apply to become a German citizen!
Outrageous that I can't vote in the UK referendum on EU membership when it may affect me so much, Can't vote where I live and pay tax and national insurance (Poland - though I can vote in EU elections here). Absolute sham! I am British, have a British passport and do expect the British government to 'allow' me to vote on matters that concern me directly. I think a 'class action' is needed on this one....
This is an issue that particular effects expats and I strongly feel that we ought to have a vote too!!
As holders of British passports, how can the government legally bar us from any elections. It's just absurd. France
I feel outraged that after living in France for over 15 years my democratic voting rights have been arbitrarily removed leaving me disenfranchised from voting either in the U.K. or in France. This may backfire on the UK government since many Bitish nationals living in the EU are highly likely to vote against Brexit.
Freedom of movement is a central pillar of the European Union, yet the UK has decided to penalise many British citizens who live in the European Union by disenfranchising them. This should be illegal under European law and shows how neither the UK nor other member states really care about this essential right.
Freedom of movement is a central pillar of the European Union, yet the UK has decided to penalise many British citizens who live in the European Union by disenfranchising them. This should be illegal under European law and shows how neither the UK nor other member states really care about this essential right.
Of course I want the right to vote on Brexit living in Spain, but also I believe that Europeans living in the UK should have their right to vote in the country they have probably made their home and on the future of their children.
It is absolutely ludicrous that we expats are treated in this manor. I feel tremendously proud of my routes and would never relinquish my UK passport for that of Sweden, where i have been living since 1991. I am sure that the majority of expats are extremely passionate about Britain and generate a great deal of tourism through sharing experiences of the place we still call home. In short we do our bit for the economy and should be treated with respect and not told after 15 years that we are no longer eligible to vote.
I implore the government to reconsider their stance and align themselves with the rest of Europe, please stop this outdated and insulting view of your fellow countrymen.
This "brexit" issue affects all of us expats, and we have no right to make our opinions heard! Ludicrous! My wife is Belgian, she HAS to vote in all Belgian electoral issues whether she likes it or not, wherever she happens to be in the world. Why does, by contrast, the UK dis-enfranchise its citizens who happen to live and work abroad?
My wife and I have lived in France since 1984 - this is our second spell in France. I have only just found your website as a result of reading the Telegraph's article concerning Harry Shindler's action initiating a High Court against the UK's refusal - inter alia - to allow expats a vote in the forthcoming referendum on the UK's continuing membership of the EU.
It goes without saying I have bookmarked your site and will be following any developments with great interest.
Nigh on 30 yrs..
One can only hope we stay in !!
Ludicrous law 15 yrs... and no chance to see a change in time.
Outdated rule in many respects, all of which should be noted. Asking "when did you leave?" is grossly out of touch with the realities of the modern world; most respondents are saying that in important respects they have not left, they just happen to be living elsewhere. This is certainly my case: my contacts with the UK are still lively, still an essential part of my life. I have lived about 20 years in France; there can be no exact figure, as different parts of my life have moved at different speeds. I live in both countries (and some others) as a European and I don't want to be deprived of that right. I did my national service and I expect that to be recognized. I paid taxes and National Insurance (for which I draw a small pension), I keep up with current affairs, I have family and friends in the UK. Here in France I promote friendly relations and (in my small way) awareness of English culture. My loyalties are just as much to be respected as those of other British citizens. I want a vote in the referendum.
I'm a 50 year old Brit, who has been living and working in France for 27 years after marrying a Frenchman with whom I have two daughters. I have never felt strongly inclined to ask for French nationality and don't see why I should have to do it now, just to protect my rights to live, work and one day be paid my pension in France in the event of a Brexit. Not having the right to vote in the EU referendum feels like I have no say in my future. In all the referendum coverage I've seen so far in the UK media, I have seen no mention of what could happen to people like me, and there are many of them, in terms of these rights. When I mention to people of other nationalities that Britons lose their right to vote after being away from Britain for only 15 years, nobody can quite believe it from such an established 'democracy'! I think at least on this key issue, we should have our say and I feel powerless to do anything about it.
In the 21st century, it is easily possible to remain well informed on UK issues wherever in the world you may live - the current law makes no sense. It is bad enough being excluded from UK General Elections but excluding expats from the EU Referendum - especially those of us who live in the EU and will be very directly affected by its outcome - is unreasonable and absurd. ( Out of the UK for over 20 years / now living in Lithuania )
Like many others who've left comments here, I left the UK after graduating because I couldn't find a job there but found a graduate level job in France within a week of arriving. And I've been here almost continuously since then (late 1979), except in the mid 1980s when I spent time in the United States and Brussels. I've never been able to vote in the UK and found that fair enough as I don't pay taxes there either. But this referendum does effect me and my British children and I want to be allowed to vote in it.
I have lived in the US for 30odd years but moved back to England for 3years returning to the US in 202 so I think that I qualify to vote on June23rd on the EU Referendum I would like to add my support to everyone who feels that wherever we are in the world we should have the right as British Subjects to vote on the future of our great country!
Regards to you all,
I have only just found your website so apologies if this has already been posted:
A petition has been started on the UK government website calling for us to have the right to vote. It is rapidly gathering momentum so please do sign if you haven't already done so!
I am a long term French resident, now retired, I think that ALL British passport holders like myself, should be able to vote in this referendum, after all IT IS OUR COUNTRY. It would make a minimal differnce to my life, but I am convinced that the best future for Britain is in Europe, and am aware that unlike Expats, there are A LOT of xenophobic voters in Britain, our vote is needed.
I have lived and worked in Paris for 29 years, am married to a Frenchman and have two daughters. My ties to the UK are very strong and I must admit to being scandalised that I will not be able to vote in UK elections in general, and the Brexit referendum in particular, which will certainly have major implications on my personal situation as an expat living in Europe. The 15 year limitation should be banned with no further ado, in line with the Tory commitments made during the election campaign
I live in France
I've lived in France for 25 years on and off (10 years working and 15 years semi/retired) and I find the prospect of being treated as a non-UK citizen absolutely disgusting. I've always vaunted the merits of my country of birth but this stupid situation makes me very angry. My partner is Estonian, and I would be honoured to take up Estonian citizenship in order to remain within the EU. Of course the institutions are not perfect but in a world where international barriers are becoming increasingly irrelevant it makes sense to change things from within rather than isolate oneself without. I hope this campaign will provide the wake-up call to UK politicians to make a sensible decision.