British Expats Lose Legal Challenge For UK Voting Right

A legal challenge aimed at ensuring British expats get to vote in general elections has received a setback after one case hit the buffers in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Harry Shindler had argued that he should be legally entitled to vote because he still had close ties to the UK.

The 93-year-old has lived in Italy since retiring from the army in 1982, but the current rules state that anyone who has lived abroad for more than 15 years lose their right to vote in UK elections.

Mr Shindler claimed that this ruling was a breach of his human rights.

In their judgment, the ECHR ruled that the conditions laid down by the UK were appropriate and that there should be some flexibility over a person’s eligibility to vote in national elections.

Strong links

The ruling reinforces the UK’s stance that British expats can vote in general elections for a set time limit or can do so again should they return to the UK.

The removal of the vote is a highly contentious issue which is currently affecting around a million British expats.

There is a well-organised campaign currently underway to bring expats the vote and two debates on the issue took place in January in the House of Lords.

Those campaigning for a change in the 15-year rule say that many UK citizens who were living abroad still retain strong link with Britain, like holding bank accounts and pensions as well as property.

They argue these expats have a stake in the country and should be given a say on the political and financial issues which could affect them and their finances.

Right to vote

Despite this, the ECHR said that these reasons do not give someone a ‘close connection’ with the UK.

Different countries in Europe have a