The UK politics of overseas voting

Collard, Susan (2019) The UK politics of overseas voting. Political Quarterly, 90 (4). pp. 672-680. ISSN 0032-3179

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The enfranchisement of non‐resident citizens has always been controversial in the UK, where for historical reasons, voting rights are not as closely associated with citizenship as elsewhere. The introduction of ‘overseas’ voting in the 1980s by the Conservatives was contested by Labour as a form of ‘international gerrymandering’ since expatriates were widely assumed to be disproportionately wealthy and therefore more likely to vote Tory. Expatriate campaigners have been increasingly vocal in denouncing the ‘electoral injustice’ of the ‘fifteen‐year rule’ which disenfranchises them after fifteen years abroad, and the exclusion of so many from the EU referendum highlighted their cause. A recent private member's bill proposing ‘votes for life’ for UK expatriates aimed to meet their demands to abolish the time restriction, now considered anachronistic. But their arguments were hijacked by historically embedded attitudes and disputes driven by party politics, ending in a dramatic and bewildering filibuster which this paper elucidates.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Expatriates, overseas voting, Private Member’s Bills, filibustering, citizenship, franchise.
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
Depositing User: Susan Collard
Date Deposited: 25 Jun 2019 09:57
Last Modified: 14 Aug 2020 11:15

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