“The last Labour government reduced the amount of time that British citizens living overseas were entitled to register to vote in UK general elections to just 15 years. That change has been the subject of concerted campaigning from expat groups and Conservatives Abroad, the network for Conservative supporters overseas.
“If the Conservative Party wins the next general election, we will remove this cap and extend it to a full right as a British citizen to vote in British elections for life.”
There have been several changes to the expat voting rules in the past 30 years. Prior to 1985, expats were not permitted to register to vote in UK national elections. The Representation of the People Act 1985 extended the franchise to expats and enabled them to register as overseas voters in the constituency for which they were last registered. This entitlement was initially only available for those expats who had lived abroad for no longer than five years.
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