Skip to main content

Overseas Electors

Volume 615: debated on Monday 10 October 2016

I am pleased to publish the Government’s plans setting out how we will deliver on our manifesto pledge to remove the current 15 year time limit on British citizens who live abroad registering as overseas electors.

Our proposals will give all British citizens who have lived in the UK a lifelong right to vote in parliamentary elections. They will ensure that all eligible overseas electors are able to register to vote and renew their registration in a convenient and timely fashion while maintaining the integrity of the electoral register and guarding against fraud. The policy will allow British citizens previously resident in the UK but who were not previously registered to vote, or had registered more than 15 years ago, to register as an overseas elector.

The publication of the policy will allow the expatriate community and those with technical electoral expertise to comment. Our aim is to have implemented the policy ahead of the next scheduled parliamentary elections.

The costs of implementing the policy are well within my Department’s spending review bid and funding will in due course be available for local authorities in line with the Government’s new burdens doctrine.

This is one of a number of proposals to make sure our democracy works for everyone. The Government are also encouraging registration in under-registered areas, equalising constituencies, and looking at what can be done to improve access to anonymous registration for those escaping domestic violence.

I am placing a copy of the policy statement in the Libraries of both Houses.