PM Boris Johnson is to scrap rules forbidding expats who have lived abroad for more than 15 years to vote in general elections.
The news came in a letter personally signed by Boris to campaigner Harry Shindler who has fought for more than 20 years to give Brits overseas the right to vote.
Boris told Harry: ‘Now we have left the EU, it is more important than ever to strengthen the UKs ties with the British expat community’
Harry Shindler has fought for more than 20 years to give Brits overseas the right to vote
Last night Harry, 99, who fought in WW2 and then retired to Italy where he now lives said:”This is a great victory for all of us patriotic Brits who have campaigned for years to get the vote back.
“The PM has assured us that we will be allowed to vote on the next election even if we have lived abroad for more than 15 years.”
Londoner Harry, who fought the Nazis with the famous Desert Rats, joked with HOAR: “I just hope I can make it to the next one given that I’m 100 soon.”
In the letter Boris told Harry: “The government is committed to scrapping the arbitrary rule that prevents British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from participating in UK parliamentary elections.
Most British citizens overseas retain deep ties to the United Kingdom. Many still have family here, some will return here, others are drawing a British pension after a lifetime of hard work and some, including yourself, have fought for our country.
Given those strong links, British expats have a right to influence decisions on foreign policy, trade and many other issues that directly affect their lives.
Now we have left the EU, it is more important than ever to strengthen the UKs ties with the British expat community.
We will be making an announcement on plans to deliver votes for life in due course.
“I would like to thank you for your steadfast campaigning on this issue, as well as the brave service you have given our country.”
Previously Harry, who was awarded an MBE by the Queen, had taken his fight to the High Court in London and to the European Court of Human Rights where he lost both times.
Harry joked with HOAR: ‘I just hope I can make it to the next one given that Im 100 soon’