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‘Votes for life’ campaign gets funding to fight for Britons abroad

British in Europe group will use the money to lobby UK government on the details of voting rights legislation

British in Europe has received £50,000 from the Joseph Rown­tree Reform Trust Pic: Ink Drop / Shutterstock

A group campaigning for Britons living in the EU is making a comeback to fight for long-term overseas residents to regain UK voting rights.

British in Europe (BiE), which had mostly wound down, has obtained £50,000 from the Joseph Rown­tree Reform Trust for a year of advocacy work. 

Push UK government on votes promise

It intends to press the UK to make good on plans to let millions of disenfranchised Britons re-register to vote before the next general election, which is expected to be in 2024.

The Elections Act abolished the 15-year limit on voting for Britons overseas but secondary legislation to put practical details in place has been put off.

Read more: Has 'votes for life' for Britons in France now come into effect?

Read more: Autumn 2023 date for restoration of UK votes lost due to 15-year rule

BiE also wants the regulations to include ways for Britons abroad to register and vote easily, avoiding recurring problematic issues such as postal ballots arriving late.

Influence detail of secondary legislation

Co-chair Jane Golding said: “We’re going back to our origins. Many of us have been active on voting rights for years.

“Our group here in Germany, which later became British in Germany, were lobbying on this before the Brexit referendum. 

“Then, those of us who had been involved in that across Europe realised a coalition was needed so we could speak as one voice on our Withdrawal Agreement rights.”

She said lobbying to influence secondary legislation is an ‘opaque’ process, but they believe they have the right contacts and know-how, built up over their years of experience.

For updates or to contact BiE, see britishineurope.org

If you wish to comment on the importance of voting to you or have ideas on how to improve the voting process from abroad, please email us via news@connexionfrance.com. We will pass the messages on to BiE.

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