UK referendum vote goes to Supreme Court

Expats battling for the right to vote appeal against rejection by High Court

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London High Court judges last Thursday rejected the case to allow all expats to vote

LAWYERS acting for British nationals living abroad are to appeal to the UK’s Supreme Court after losing their case in the High Court. They are demanding that all UK citizens should be allowed to vote in the forthcoming referendum on EU membership, no matter how long they lived outside their home country.

At present, anyone who has lived outside the UK for more than 15 years will be denied a voice in the referendum, in addition to which they are not allowed to vote in British general elections. The present Conservative government has promised to abolish the arbitrary ban but has not yet made a move to do so.

In London last Thursday, two High Court judges rejected arguments put forward by solicitors representing two expats living in Italy and Belgium (CDSN last week), and accepted claims made by the government’s lawyers that there were “significant practical difficulties” in allowing expats who are currently excluded to vote in the referendum. The judges also took the view that the ban does not breach expats’ rights of free movement under EU law.

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