The Government's manifesto pledge was to pass the Votes for LIfe legislation before the next General Election.
This legislation would give British citizens abroad a vote for life in UK general elections, abolishing the arbitrary rule which currently bars them from doing so after a period of 15 years living.
Roger Casale, Founder and CEO of New Europeans has written to Chris Skidmore MP, Minister for the Constitution, about the Government's promise.
With the Prime Minister's announcement of a General Election on 8 June, we demand to know whether the Government will make good on its promise so that UK expats can have the vote.
To add your name to the letter, please see use the link below.
(Deadline for signatures 28 April)
Open letter to Chris Skidmore MP, Minister for the Constitution
Re: Votes for Life
18 April 2017
I am writing on behalf of New Europeans, an organisation that was founded in 2013 to champion the rights of UK citizens living in the EU and EU citizens living in Britain.
We have strongly supported the Government's commitment to Votes for Life for all UK citizens abroad and have played a key part in generating a consensus around this measure from other parties in parliament.
In October 2014, in evidence to the Political and Constitutional Affairs Select Committee we recommended the introduction of Votes for Life legislation as a way of creating a democracy that works for everyone.
We were delighted when the Conservative Party included Votes for Life as a manifesto pledge for the 2015 election.
On 7 October 2016 your department issued a press release with the following headline:
However, you have not in fact delivered on your pledge, and there will now be a General Election on 8 June.There are potentially 5.5 m British citizens living abroad who will want to know whether they will in fact get the vote you promised them for the next election.
In answer to a parliamentary question on 28 February you stated that the commitment is to implement the legislation before the General Election in 2020.
This suggests that you will try to back out of the commitment if the election is called early.
That is not going to go down well with the 5.5m Brits living abroad who will feel let down by your failure to do what you said you would do, namely to enfranchise them before the next election (whenever it is held).
As Minister for the Constitution you also have a special responsibility to make sure the government delivers on its promises in a timely manner.
There is still time to put through a short bill and keep your promise to legislate for Votes for Life in this parliament.
We call on you now to do so.
Founder and CEO, New Europeans