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French abroad to get their own MP. Why not us?


NormanH

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French people abroad are to get their own MPs.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/25/french-expats-get-own-mps

Why doesn't the UK do the same?  I can't even vote  any more as I have been abroad too long, so I am disenfranchised and effectively apatride.

Yet I have to pay taxes in two countries, although I have no say in how either of them are governed.

No taxation without representation!

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We got far more years of voting than you NH, then they reduced it.

I am not so sure about this, I thought that EU MP's sort of filled the gaps, but maybe I am wrong about that. Also you'll still be paying french tax? and haven't the representation in France.

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The Italians also have an MP to represent them whilst living in the UK. Some 2 years ago, I think, I signed a petition on line to give us the same rights. Don't know what came of it, or whether it is still open, waiting for the magic figure to start a debate.
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I missed that Jazzer.

I have found this

http://lefourquet.net/Blog Challenge Disenfranchisement Law.pdf

which sums it up well

Seems a clear case for European-wide harmonisation of the rules.

Either you can continue to vote for the government of the country of which you are a national while you are living in Europe, or you can't.

Other EU countries:

France’s long republican tradition of encouraging the participation of

ex-pats thus makes for a strong contrast with the British approach,

though Denmark and Ireland have even more restrictive policies of

attaching voting rights to residence in the home country. Others such as

Austria, Belgium, Spain and the Netherlands give unrestricted voting

rights to their ex-pats, and Spain, Italy and Portugal provide theirs

with representative bodies similar to the French. If the legal argument

is won by the British man in Madrid, perhaps this would open the path to

a ‘European policy on Europeans resident outside their country of

origin’, as called for in the Paris Declaration of the Assemblée des Français de l’Etranger

during the French Presidency of the EU in September 2008. This would

involve persuading all member-states to allow their nationals to

continue to vote in the national elections of their country, regardless

of their place of residence, and without time restrictions: a

challenging prospect, but one which could give new meaning to the

concept and practice of European citizenship in the 21st century.

http://www.franceinlondon.com/en-Article-554-Voting-rights-for-French-and-British-nationals-living-abroad-Law--french-british.html

This does not raise much interest on this Forum, as many people are not yet concerned, or are holiday-home owners and so not affected. In time many more of the 2000+ generation will lose their rights and then there may be a belated outcry.

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Speaking as one not affected by this, I've wondered occasionally how it might work. On the one hand I can understand the argument consistently made by those paying UK tax that they become disenfranchised whilst remaining a taxpayer, and can understand that this feels unfair. On the other, unless they can vote for a designated "expat" MP, retaining a vote seems a little odd, as those not living in the UK and thus without a UK address have no consituency in which to vote. But...

As an outsider, I can see that having a designated "expat MP" might be a solution, but would that MP enjoy any greater powers to agitate on behalf (specifically) of non-residents? And how would that actually work? The overall number of non-residents might be great, but a single "expat MP" isn't going to wield any influence in parliament - particularly if the elected incumbent turns out to be in opposition. And is the expat turnout and vote likely to be high enough to prevent candidates losing their deposits? Do expats in so many disparate geographical areas share the same concerns beyond, say, those related to pensions and winter fuel allowance? In many senses I can't see voting for a designated "expat MP" being any more useful than voting for, say, the Monster Raving Loony Party in terms of outcome.

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I still have a few years left before my voting rights run out for the UK but as I lived in a true blue area, my vote counts for very little anyway.  I think a specific MP for those living outside the UK is a very good idea.  I still plan to try for dual nationality though, because a vote here would be much more meaningful than either of the other options.

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A very fair minded and intelligent summary as might be expected of you.

In fact, for me an 'Ex-pat' (grinding of teeth at the word) MP is not my first demand, although it might serve at least to enfranchise me.

I would ideally like to see the law changed which deprives UK citizens abroad of the right to vote in UK elections after the arbitrary period of 15 years.

This does not exist in several other EU countries (France, Spain, Portugal Italy for example). It raises the interesting example of the Cleggs;  as they are in England both the couple can vote for their National Governments, but if they were in Spain (her country) he would eventually lose the right to vote.

There are many  other anomalies and exceptions too: for example someone living in Brussels and working for the Embassy keeps the right to vote whereas her husband working for the Commission would lose his after 15 years..

 I could of course also take double nationality and vote for National eletions in France, which is the route I would have taken if I hadn't had such a miserable and difficult time getting my first Carte de Séjour, but is the one I might be forced to go down.

In any case I have to pay taxes in 2 countries without the right to affect how the money is spent.

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