On 7 October 2016 the government published details of its approach to removing the current 15 year rule on British citizens living overseas voting in parliamentary elections. The policy seeks to remove the current rule that means British citizens abroad can only vote for 15 years from the point they were last registered to vote in the UK.
The policy seeks to give the right to vote to all British citizens overseas who were previously resident or registered to vote in the UK. It 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.
Currently, overseas electors will remain entitled to vote in parliamentary elections, but not in any other elections (such as local elections or elections to the devolved legislatures).
The government welcomes feedback from any interested party on these proposals. The BCC will of course react, and will continue to monitor developments. According to Minister for the Constitution Chris Skidmore MP, it is hoped that the Bill will go before Parliament in time to allow unrestricted overseas voter registration in advance of the 2020 General Election if the Bill is passed into law.