Briton in France stands against Boris Johnson
A British man living in Brittany is standing for election in the UK prime minister’s constituency to highlight the problem of millions of Britons abroad excluded from the general election vote.
Ending the ‘15-year rule’ limiting the right to vote in general elections and referendums has been promised by the Conservative Party since David Cameron’s manifesto in 2015, but has still not happened. This prompted William Tobin to put himself up as a candidate in Uxbridge and South Ruislip after he found that he has the right to do so despite having lost his vote.
However his campaign makes it clear he is not standing to win, just to highlight the plight of disenfranchised Britons abroad. Many countries, including France, have votes for life for their citizens and the UK was previously criticised by the European Commission for its policy which it said is “tantamount to punishing citizens for having exercised their free movement”.
Mr Tobin will be standing in the election with fellow candidates including Boris Johnson for the Conservatives, Joanne Humphries for the Liberal Democrats, Geoffrey Courtnay for Ukip, Mark Keir for the Greens, Ali Milani for Labour and Official Monster Raving Looney candidate Lord Buckethead.
In an election flyer, Mr Tobin says some three million Britons overseas were barred in the last general elections and the 2016 Brexit referendum vote.
“The Conservatives promised to fix this injustice in their 2015 and 2017 manifestos but let us down,” he adds.
He is also calling for voting rights for foreign nationals who live permanently in the UK and for 16 and 17-year-olds.
He states: “We unrepresented people have vital interests in Brexit and the UK’s future. Elections and referendums without us just aren’t legitimate. Like the suffragettes before us, we deserve a say in our own lives.”
He does not want people to vote for him, but rather to press the other candidates to right this wrong.
“Cherish your vote. When you cast it, think of us seven million people without a voice, and of our future,” he adds.
Mr Tobin has launched a crowdfunder to cover his expenses, which he estimates at around £2,500. Any excess will be donated to the British in Europe and the3million campaign groups.
He notes that only registered UK electors may donate more than £50, according to UK election law. If any larger amounts are pledged he will have to check people’s eligibility to donate.
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