British expats look set to win the right to vote in UK elections regardless of how long they have lived abroad in a move that has been widely welcomed.

Currently British expats who move abroad can vote only if they have lived overseas for less than 15 years. After that they are disenfranchised and many were bitterly disappointed that they were not able to vote in June’s referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union.

UK vote
Now Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed that she wants to change the law and this could mean expats being able to vote in the next General Election expected in 2020.

The Electoral Commission, which overseas voting in the UK, estimates that 5.5 million British citizens live overseas, but it only had 106,000 on voting lists for the 2015 general election, which was the highest number ever recorded.

According to Alex Robertson, director of communications at the Electoral Commission, a lot of expats aren’t aware that it’s possible to register as an overseas voter for certain UK polls.

He pointed out that it is easy for expats to vote as they can register online. They normally vote in the constituency where they last stayed when in the UK.

It has been an issue that has been around for a long time and the previous Prime Minister David Cameron had promised to bring the measure in during this Parliament as part of his general election manifesto, but did not do so in time for the historic referendum.

One expat who has been at the forefront of campaigning for votes for all British citizens living overseas is 93 year old Second World War veteran Harry Schindler, who has lived in Italy for many years.

He confirmed that he has received a letter from May assuring him that a Parliamentary Bill will be introduced in time for the next General Election.