An estimated 3.4 million UK citizens living overseas are disenfranchised and, in 2016, more than 60% of UK citizens living in the EU had no vote in the UK EU referendum that led to the removal of our EU citizenship rights and changed our lives forever.
The British in Europe (BiE) campaigned for five years to protect our EU citizenship rights - and to reinstate lifelong voting rights in the UK. This was successful, and the UK Elections Act 2022 has restored lifelong voting rights for UK citizens living overseas. However, it needs to be implemented and implemented in a way that enables us to be able to use these democratic rights.
BiE has recently secured funding for 12 months from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust to support their campaign to ensure that the secondary implementing legislation is delivered and that it works - so that we can reclaim our voting rights and be registered as voters in time for the next general election. Once that is done, BiE plan a further phase of work to raise awareness across the UK diaspora and encourage registration of these new UK citizen voters overseas.
As part of this campaign, BiE has organised a survey for UK citizens resident overseas. The Voting Rights survey is now ready to collect data and you are encouraged to participate. By taking part, you will help build a picture of the global UK overseas community and their voting rights.
You can find the survey here.
The more respondents that participate, the stronger the arguments that BiE will be able to present to ensure a suitable, practical process is put in place to enable our voices can be heard again in the UK political scene. The survey should take around 10 to 20 minutes to complete.
Who are BiE?
British in Europe (BiE) is the largest coalition group of British Citizens living and working in Europe. With representation across the whole continent, the group actively campaigns for the rights of UK citizens in the EU and EU citizens in the UK.
It was founded in early 2017 to give UK citizens living, working and studying across the EU a voice in the Brexit negotiations and since then has been recognised by the British government and the European Institutions as trusted interlocutors, meeting secretaries of state, ministers in EU Member States and key EU and British officials.
BiE was forced to close its virtual doors in April 2022 through lack of funding. However, the support from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust is enabling it to resume its valuable work.