31 OCTOBER 2019
British expats need to ensure that they are registered to vote in the UK’s forthcoming general election this December sooner rather than later.
This is the warning from the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory organisations.
Nigel Green, chief executive and founder of deVere Group, which has more than 80,000 mainly expatriate clients in 100 countries globally, is speaking out after it was confirmed that the UK is going to have a 12 December general election after the opposition Labour party agreed to a vote called for by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Mr Green notes: “Many expats, quite rightly, remain angry and frustrated that even if they were eligible to participate in the 2016 Brexit referendum, the registration process took too long and was too burdensome, and ultimately they were unable to do so.
“It is particularly galling as those expats resident within the EU27 are disproportionately affected by Brexit.
“For instance, if there is a no-deal Brexit, which remains a slight yet dangerous possibility, it is likely that their pensions, insurance and healthcare will be adversely affected overnight.”
He continues: “As this critical general election is, in effect, a second Brexit referendum, they should act now to register to vote in order to ensure their voice is heard.
“This will also help to counteract the injustice of the fact that 700,000-plus British expats are disenfranchised from the UK political system after 15 years overseas and were denied the vote on something that directly affects them.
“All other G7 countries except the UK allow their citizens voting rights for life. Why is Britain different? It’s especially frustrating that many are still liable for UK inheritance tax, amongst others, but are not allowed to vote in the UK after 15 years.
“Whatever happened to ‘no taxation without representation’?”
Mr Green concludes: “Expats’ futures hang in the balance with this general election as it will inevitably shape Brexit’s direction of travel.”
“If they are eligible to do so under the current archaic rules – which must be updated in the next parliament – expats should register to vote sooner rather than later.”0