Bremain in Spain Welcomes Progress in Restoring 'Votes for Life' to British Citizens Overseas
The second reading of the ‘Overseas Electors Bill 2017-19’, a Private Member’s Bill brought by Welsh Conservative MP, Glyn Davies, took place on Friday February 23. It gained support from the Conservative and Liberal Democrat benches and opposition from some Labour MPs. It was supported by Mike Gapes MP, the president of Labour International. The bill was passed, and now goes to committee stage.
John Moffett, vice chair of Bremain in Spain, comments: "In the centenary year of women getting the vote, it is fitting that the process of restoring the vote to overseas electors has begun. These people have been disenfranchised by the 15 year rule."
"We will continue lobbying hard to ensure that this important bill becomes a reality so that British overseas voters can participate in UK general elections, regardless of how many years they've spent outside the UK."
Bremain in Spain has been lobbying MPs for a significant time and uses social media to spread its message. The group has a Facebook page dedicated to Votes for Life ( https://www.facebook.com/votesforlife2018 ) and has been encouraging people to email their MPs, send Tweets and distribute political memes.
Liberal Democrat MP, Layla Moran, quoted Bremain in Spain member, Ruth Woodhouse - billed as "Ruth from Spain" - during the debate.
Ruth Woodhouse says: "Over the last 18 months of lobbying, I've received hundreds of responses from MPs, peers, MEPs and other politicians on Brexit-related issues. Many of them are incredibly supportive and we are now in regular contact. Others have expressed appreciation for being congratulated on their Brexit stance and say the feedback they receive helps them maintain the courage of their convictions and to continue the fight."
Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain, concludes: "It was a pleasure to witness democracy in action from the public gallery of the Houses of Parliament on Friday. To hear one of our volunteers being quoted just proves the value of keeping up the pressure. We've a long way to go but we're a significant step closer today to returning voting rights to the disenfranchised."
Sir Roger Gale, a Conservative MP, suggested that the Bill should be renamed the 'Shindler Bill', after 96 year old Votes for Life campaigner, Harry Shindler. A second world war veteran from the Battle of Anzio who now lives in Italy, Harry and has fought tirelessly to have the 15 year rule repealed. In the debate, Sir Roger said of Harry "I don’t think you could meet anyone more British".
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Notes for editors
For further information please contact
Sue Wilson, Chair
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