Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Referendum Bill

Harry Shindler writes --- If there is an 'out' vote, then it will affect personally every expat and every expat family. It's very serious indeed. LETS GET ALL OUR EX-PATS INVOLVED.  We must win the right to vote in the Referendum - it's up to us all .... as the man* said "Never Tire - Never Weary".             *Winston Churchill
For those who live far from Europe the vote may yet affect you - Please support.

The Referendum Bill  - Update
   Lobbying has already had an impact: see here ITV's report on the debate during committee stage on 2 Nov:---      and also the report on the debate below this email.  However, we need to keep up the pressure!

1.  The Report Stage takes place in the House of Lords from Wed 18 November.  Baroness Miller (Lib Dem) will introduce an amendment to give all British Citizens in the EU a vote in the Referendum.  Those resident outside the EU will not be included as this is unlikely to be accepted.  When Baroness Miller presents her amendment, it is likely that the Government will tell (whip) its members not to vote for it, and may even urge them to vote against it.  Labour might also whip against it. Baroness Miller's amendment is thus likely to fail unless Labour & Conservative peers are persuaded otherwise by our lobbying. 

2.  Keep Lobbying Peers pleaseAs mentioned previously, peers' email addresses can be found at  They are often given as a general     Individual mail addresses are usually (but not always) the surname with an added initial.  Thus for example, Baroness Altmann is  

3.  Which peer should you contact?  Some advice from Baroness Miller follows.
Baroness Miller urges -----
“The essential thing now is to get all your friends and family to lobby members of the House of Lords - either ones they know, or just pick someone, but choose people who didn’t speak, rather than those who are already on board. We suggest especially writing to Baroness Anelay (Con), or who is in charge of this bill in the Lords." 
NB absolutely essential that a mail to Baroness Anelay is of a very personalised nature - if not, the clerks will bin it.  Read more in the article from The Connexion  >>>>  :
Lord Faulks (Conservative spokesman) spoke against for the government - a personalised and well argued letter to him would also be useful (note that he is a barrister by training).
Baroness Morgan (Labour spokesperson) clearly needs persuasion. Labour does not support the repeal of the 15 year rule in general but it is worth trying to make the argument that the EU referendum is a distinct case as expats are directly affected.   Labour supports the franchise in the EU referendum for 16-17 year olds and has referred to the impact it will have on their futures.  Her email address is
Please check Hansard below to see who did speak in favour - so that you can then target those peers who did not speak.
4.  How to write?  A personalised letter is preferable but here is an example for inspiration.  
Dear [Lord] [B/ness] xxxxx
I have lived outside the UK in [country or countries] for xx years.  As a result I can no longer vote in British general elections and currently would not be able to vote in the EU referendum, although I will be seriously affected [both] personally [and professionally] by its outcome.  Thus the outcome of the referendum is naturally very important to me.  Please vote in favour of any amendment at the Report Stage of the Referendum Bill tabled by Baroness Miller  to give me the vote. 
Hansard report on the Committee Stage of the Referendum Bill  2nd November 2015

During Committee Stage, two amendments were proposed by Lord Hannay (cross bench)  and B/ness Miller (LD). A good deal of cross-party consensus seemed to be building during the debate.  Only Lord Trenchard spoke against, while Lords Dobbs was ambivalent. He was for the principle but raised the practical difficulties.  It was also not entirely clear whether Lord Grocott was supportive.
Fourteen members of the Lords spoke firmly for the proposals:-
[Cons -Lexden, Spicer, Hamilton, Flight, Bowness, Tugendhat, Garel-Jones; Lab -Royall, Liddle, Anderson; LD - Wallace, Tyler, Shipley;  Cross-Bench - Green
Unfortunately, B/ness Morgan of Ely's statement set out Labour's official view as being against repeal of the 15 year rule, and Lord Faulks [], speaking for the Government was also quite clearly against.  The full debate can be found at:- 
Starting at Column 1409 at 3.09 p.m.
                             Brian Cave                              Jane Golding