Ex-pats Lose Battle to Vote in EU Referendum

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A case brought by two ex-pats to the High Court to allow them to vote in the EU referendum has failed. The ex-pats claimed that they shouldn’t lose the right to vote as part of the freedom of movement within the EU.

Lord Justice Lloyd Jones said that records beyond the current 15-year cut-off weren’t routinely kept and so there was no easy way of checking who was entitled to vote before then. In a ruling the Lord Justice said:

“In our view, Parliament could legitimately take the view that electors who satisfy the test of closeness of connection set by the 15-year rule form an appropriate group to vote on the question whether the UK should remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union”.

The two claimants have confirmed that they now intend to take their legal battle to the Supreme Court.

Jacquelyn MacLennan, one of the two claimants, said:

“The government made a manifesto commitment to enfranchise all British citizens, no matter how long they have been abroad saying that they thought that ‘choosing 15 years, as opposed to 14 or 16 years, is inherently like sticking a dart in a dartboard’ and that ‘if British citizens maintain British citizenship that brings with it rights, obligations and a connection with this country, and that that should endure’. We just want the government to keep its promises”.