18 January 2024
Dunne welcomes changes to overseas voting

South Shropshire MP, Philip Dunne, has welcomed changes to make it easier for British citizens living overseas to vote in UK elections.

British or eligible Irish citizen living overseas who has previously lived in the UK or been registered to vote in the UK can register to vote in UK Parliamentary elections. In the past, people who left the UK more than 15 years ago lost their right to vote, but this rule was abolished under the Election Act 2022.

Further changes have this week been introduced which mean that it is now possible to register to vote if you previously lived in the UK but were not registered to vote. No matter how long ago a person left the UK, or were last registered to vote, it is now possible to register to vote. Those wishing to register can also now do so online. 

Overseas voters who registered to vote before 16th January 2024 will need to renew their registration when their declaration expires. If voters have applied for a proxy vote before 31st October 2023, this will expire on 31st January 2024 and will need to be reapplied for.

Mr Dunne said:

“I have long campaigned for greater rights for British citizens overseas to vote in UK elections.

“British citizens overseas are affected by decisions we take here in the UK, including around their state pensions or tax affairs. It is only right that if you remain a British citizen, you should have the right to vote in UK elections.

“This brings voting rights to British citizens who were previously disenfranchised, and is now aligned with how most other developed nations treat their expatriate citizens. These measures had long been blocked by Labour, so I am pleased that we have delivered on our manifesto pledge to extend democratic rights to all British citizens overseas over the age of 18.

“The changes make it easier now for overseas voters to register. So I encourage those in South Shropshire who have friends or family living overseas to make them aware of their right to vote, so their voice can be heard.”

Applications to vote can be made at www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.