Give our votes back - veteran's plea to UK MPs

Harry Shindler has campaigned for years for Britons abroad to maintain votes for life

Second world war veteran and campaigner for rights of Britons abroad Harry Shindler has made a heartfelt plea to the British Labour Party not to seek to stop the bill giving Britons overseas the vote for life.

British Conservative MP Sir Roger Gale, has passed on the following message from Mr Shindler, 97, who he said is currently unwell and bed-bound.  He said Mr Shindler wished to tell the MPs' committee who have been considering the bill today: 

“As the longest serving member, and servant for many years, of the Labour Party,  I am ashamed that Labour people, so called, tried to stop this Bill yesterday. 

"The Overseas Electors Bill is an issue of principal and is not political.  I went to war to give the people of Europe freedom and I and all British citizens should have our democratic right to vote.  It is an elementary right and no Member of Parliament should deny any fellow citizen this right .  It is disgraceful to try to block other British citizenslike me their right to vote.

"I appeal to this Committee to do that which is just, to right this wrong, and to strengthen our great democracy.”

Yesterday at the 'money bill' debate, to give the green light to allocate a budget for putting the bill into action, Labour tried to introduce an amendment saying the government could only spend €10,000/year on implementing it, as opposed to the estimated €1million a year for ten years that the government think is needed to give votes back to up to three million disenfranchised Britons (in comparison, running the 2015 general election cost more than €115million).

Minister Chloe Smith described as "a wrecking amendment" that would "starve the bill of the money it needs to do its job".

Sir Roger told MPs such a tactic was last used in 1912. He added while Britain was proud to be one of the world's oldest democracies, it was also one of the few old democracies not to have votes for life for its citizens overseas. 

The amendment was voted down by 296 to 259 and the money bill, without it, was passed 308 to 260.

Previous articles:
Britons abroad vote bill debated today

Shindler's Bill on votes for life moves to the next stage 

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