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Votes for expats: Plan to end UK's 15-year rule

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Votes for expats: Plan to end UK's 15-year rule
Photo: Colourbox
12:26 CEST+02:00
The Conservative party in the UK has made a bid to woo expat voters by pledging to end the controversial “15-year rule” that prevents millions of Brits abroad from being able to vote.
British expats have long campaigned against the rule which states that once they have lived abroad for longer than 15 years they lose their right to vote back in the UK.
 
That has left many UK citizens completely disenfranchised as they are also denied the right to vote in most foreign countries, unless they seek citizenship.
 
And this week it appears that at least one political party has heard their call.
 
As part of its election manifesto, David Cameron’s Tory party has promised to abolish the rule – if they win the next general election, scheduled for May 2015.
 
The Tories say they want to protect the rights of citizens overseas who have “contributed to Britain all their lives", according to a Tory spokesman quoted in the Daily Telegraph.
 
“Millions of British citizens live and work across the globe. Many have worked hard, contributed to Britain all their lives, and have close family living in Britain," said the spokesman.
 
“Like many other countries, the UK continues to protect British citizens living abroad with its military, embassy network, passport and other services. However, Britain currently restricts the rights of these citizens to vote in general elections,” he added.
 
"If the Conservative Party wins the next general election, we will remove this cap and extend it to a full right as a British citizen to vote in British elections for life.”
 
It is believed there are around 5.5 million British expats living abroad including about 15,000 in Denmark. 
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