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Votes for life not enough

Oliver Rowland’s excellent interview with Gina Miller (December 2016, p15), raised the prospect of disappointment for expats over abolition of the 15-year rule in the event of an early general election.

Administrative difficulties probably mean that few who have been disenfranchised will register and even fewer will vote. What is required is a system of overseas constituencies, as operated by Italy and France.

While abolishing the 15-year restriction will be a step forward, Italy’s four million overseas citizens, since 2001, have been able to register abroad and vote by postal ballot.

It is no coincidence that their votes were instrumental in securing the Democratic Party victory in 2013 and contributed significantly to Matteo Renzi’s recent referendum defeat.

Politicians generally cannot think beyond the lifetime of a single Parliament, but if Italy and France can introduce overseas constituencies, why not Britain? This is the way forward for long-term expats to have a say in events that affect them.

James Jackson, Carcassonne

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