Theresa May just denied 3 million people a vote, weeks before the general election [IMAGE]

Theresa May Expats EU
Support us and go ad-free

Theresa May’s government has quietly stopped around three million people voting in the general election, setting fire to a major manifesto pledge.

Show me the way to go home

Britons living abroad, or ‘expats’ as they’re usually known, currently don’t get a vote if they’ve lived in a foreign country for more than 15 years. But in its 2015 manifesto [pdf p50], the Conservative government said:

We will complete the electoral register, by working to include more of the five million Britons who live abroad. We will introduce votes for life, scrapping the rule that bars British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from voting.

On the face of it, it seemed like a smart move from the Tories. Statistics show that many expats are pensioners; widely regarded as natural Conservative voters. For example, around 50,000 (one third) of British expats in France are over 60. And in Spain, the figure is also around a third, at 108,000.

It’s gone right to my head

But on 21 April, the government backtracked. It wrote to pressure group New Europeans, which had been campaigning on the issue. And it said it would not now be changing the law.

This provoked a furious response.

New Europeans have written to the PM saying:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

New Europeans Letter Theresa May

Wherever I may roam…

But while it appears May has shot herself in the foot by stopping apparently natural Tory supporters from voting, it may actually be a sly move. Because 75% of British expats who were eligible to vote in the EU referendum backed remain. And with Brexit comes problems for British people living abroad; like the fact that Brexit may put a stop to free healthcare for British expats in Spain – forcing them to come back to the UK. And this would hit expat pensioners the hardest. Similarly, expats’ ‘right to remain’ in EU countries after Brexit is still not guaranteed [paywall].

So it may be the case that these formerly natural Tory voters could, in this general election, have turned against the government.

The PM has either just disenfranchised millions of Tory voters, or she has smartly stopped disgruntled expats from voting against her government and a ‘hard’ Brexit. But either way, it is another example of the Conservative government disenfranchising the electorate; and therefore subverting democracy even more in the UK.

Get Involved!

Register to vote in the 8 June general election. If you don’t have a national insurance number, a 5 minute phone call on 0300 200 3500 will get it sent to you in ten days.

– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.

– Also read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.

Featured image via Flickr

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed