Wednesday, October 14, 2015
The Referendum Bill
October 13th 2015 the 2nd reading of the Bill was debated in the House of Lords.
Many members spoke about the lack of a democratic voice for those who have lived beyond the UK for more than 15 years.
Relevant extracts are included in this *** digest ***.
Read what Lord Shipley said
If we left the EU, work permits could return, more people could have to apply for skilled migrant visas, reciprocal health schemes could be reduced, the operation of UK state pensions could be affected and the general ease of mobility for UK citizens across the EU would become much more complicated and uncertain. I wonder whether the Government have calculated the impact if large numbers of UK citizens decided to return to the UK in the event of our exit from the EU.
The full Hansard report is here
The Liberal Democrat Party intend at the Committee stage to introduce an amendment to widen the franchise (the voting) to include at least ALL British Citizens in Europe. This concept was supported by at least some members of all parties. Baroness Royall, who was in the last parliament leader of the Labour Party in the House of Lords, approved.
Neil Kinnock (Lab) -at one time leader of the Labour Party- and Paddy Ashdown(LD) - similarly a previous leader of the LibDems- have said that they will vote for any such amendment. Lord Lexden (Cons) has pushed for the life-time vote for years.
The Lib Dem announcement on this is here……………..
Those in countries beyond the EU who receive this item should grasp the thought that voting rights will add force to the claim for pension parity. They may not get the vote in this amendment, but if they lobby for support for this amendment – it should hasten the Votes-for-Life Bill.
After that may well follow a true and full representation of the Citizens abroad. But moreover you may want to live in France or Italy later on or may be your family will – Remember all British Citizens are also European Citizens.
What should be done now…. Lobby a likely Lord!
In the following link you will see lists of the members of the House of Lords.
It can be difficult choosing which member or members to contact – By scanning down the list you can see names who you feel may be supportive e.g. Bakewell, Blunkett, Boothroyd etc.. and you can see also how active they have been as members. Lobby those who have not spoken in the ***digest*** above.
In sending a mail please modify the following - This is important because the HoL clearing room for emails will not forward perceived identical mails - nor multiple addressed copies of mails.
So personalise it.
“Dear (enter the members name),
The Referendum Bill
Do please support the amendment which will be placed at Committee Stage to ensure that British Citizens abroad who have lost their right to vote and have a sincere interest in the outcome of the Referendum can have a voice in this Referendum. I understand that leading members of all Parties intend to vote for it including members Kinnock, Ashdown, Lexden and others such as Royall, and many Liberal Democrats and also cross-bench Peers.
Extracts from Hansard of the debate on October 13th can be read here
Obviously you can invent your own letter or add material to this one. And when you get a good response do please acknowledge.
FOR those (all British Citizens) who are also European Citizens – this should interest you…..
To Register to vote (if less than 15 years abroad) --https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote