A petition to the British government has been launched calling for dedicated MPs for Britons overseas.
The petition by Lib Dems in France comes as the French branch of the British centrist party seeks to make a renewed push for overseas constituencies and MPs, such as the French have for their citizens abroad.
The Lib Dems’ local party in France has long supported the idea, but believes the time has come to put it centre-stage.
Its petition for ‘An MP for all’ asks the Minister for the Constitution, Chloë Smith, that overseas constituencies be in place for the next UK general elections, in May 2024.
It points out that the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights says “everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country”.
At present many Britons lose the right to vote in British elections after 15 years of residency abroad.
The current Conservative government has promised to end this limit ‘in due course’, however the Lib Dems believe this does not go far enough.
They say that concerns of overseas voters are “typically ignored by the MP in the area where they used to live” to whose constituency they continue to be attached under the current rules.
The Lib Dems believe it would be better for Britons in France, who are more numerous than the population of the typical British constituency, to have their own MP or MPs who would focus on their specific concerns.