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UK MPs debate voting rights

Campaigners for voting rights of UK expats are urging people to contact their British MPs as they debate election reform

CAMPAIGNERS for expats’ right to vote are urging Britons to ask their MPs to speak up for them in parliament this week.

The MPs are debating an electoral reform bill, which relates to matters about registration of electors and the running of elections – however it contains nothing changing the “15-year rule” by which Britons who live outside the UK for more than 15 years lose their right to vote in UK general elections.

Campaigners say this loss is unfair – in contrast French people living outside France maintain their right to vote in France indefinitely and France has even recently introduced special MPs to represent its expats in different regions of the world.

The bill – full name: Electoral Registration and Administration Bill 2012-13 - is debated in the Commons today and Wednesday before going to the House of Lords.

One campaigner, Graham Richards, said: "So far no amendment has been included to help us, but it is still worth contacting your MP. We are also hopeful of an amendment in the Lords as quite a few of them are supportive of a change."

British MPs’details can be found here: UK MPs

The following campaign site has more information on the 15-year rule: Votes for Expat Brits

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