UK parties abroad and expatriate voters: the Brexit backlash

Collard, Susan and Webb, Paul (2020) UK parties abroad and expatriate voters: the Brexit backlash. Parliamentary Affairs, 73 (4). pp. 856-873. ISSN 0031-2290

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Recent developments in British politics have foregrounded two issues of particular importance to Britons living overseas: their voting rights in the UK and Brexit. In light of this, the number of British expatriates registering to vote has risen sharply and provided an incentive to develop UK parties abroad. We, therefore, set out the history and organisational structures of the major British parties abroad, and report the results of a unique online survey of British expatriate citizens, which tests whether ‘Votes for Life’ and Brexit have significantly impacted on their political preferences. We find that latter has done so, but the former has not. In view of this, the historically embedded expectations of a general expatriate preference for the Conservative Party no longer apply to those based in EU countries. In the wake of Brexit, this group appears to have swung decisively against the party and turned towards Labour and the Liberal Democrats. This suggests that the likelihood of the current Conservative administration introducing legislation to extend expatriate Britons’ voting rights, as pledged in the Queen’s Speech of December 2019, is remote, raising existential questions for the future of UK parties abroad.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: political parties, Brexit, Parties abroad, expatriate voters
Schools and Departments: School of Law, Politics and Sociology > Politics
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 28 May 2020 07:22
Last Modified: 30 Jul 2022 01:00

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