Wales politics

Welsh MP's expat 'votes for life' plan moves closer

Glyn Davies
Image caption Glyn Davies says expat voters are "an integral part of our democracy"

A Welsh MP's bill to give all British expats the right to vote in UK Parliamentary elections for life has moved a step closer to becoming law.

Glyn Davies's Overseas Electors Bill would end a 15-year limit on overseas voters being eligible for UK elections.

"The bill addresses a crucial gap in our electorate," he said.

MPs approved funding for the bill but there are concerns over the cost of adding potentially around three million more voters to the electoral roll.

Currently, British citizens living abroad can only vote in elections for 15 years from the point when they were last registered to vote in the UK.

Shadow cabinet office minister Jo Platt said ending the limit would create administrative challenges, placing "a serious strain" on resources, for local authorities already experiencing considerable cuts.

The Electoral Commission has warned that increasing the number of British citizens eligible to vote will "add strain to already stretched resources," she added.

The bill, which will now face further detailed scrutiny, has UK government support and is likely to become law.

Cabinet minister Chloe Smith said the legislation "puts right an injustice".

Montgomeryshire MP Mr Davies said expat voters "should be recognised as an integral part of our democracy".

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