Disappointment for Expatriate Voters
Lord Lexden set out in full the reasons why all British citizens living overseas should have the right to vote in British elections when the House of Lords debated his amendments to the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill on January 14. He was strongly supported by two fellow Conservative peers, Lord Norton of Louth( a well-known constitutional expert)and Lord Flight who has lived overseas . Predictably, a number of misleading—in some cases erroneous—statements and claims were made in other parts of the House. In his reply to the debate, the Government Minister, Lord Gardiner of Kimble, stated that the 15-year limit “ remains under consideration within government”. The one positive change that he announced was the removal of the requirement for the overseas voter’s initial registration form to be countersigned by another UK citizen resident abroad. At the end of the debate Lord Lexden said: “ I listened with particular care to the Minister’s speech and noted one or two encouraging points. Overall, however, I listened with some disappointment”.
With the support of Lord Norton, Lord Lexden proposes to return to the main issues when the Lords moves to the next stage of its consideration of the Bill on January 23.
The full Hansard report can be read here Hansard - House of Lords January 14th 2013