London – Over 3 million British citizens living abroad have regained their right to vote in British General Elections and referendums following the implementation of the Elections Act 2022.

This represents the biggest increase in the British electoral franchise since the introduction of full female suffrage in 1928.

As of Tuesday 16th January 2024, the arbitrary 15-year limit on voting rights has been scrapped and British citizens worldwide will be able to register to vote online regardless of how long they have been overseas.

This will be linked to the last UK address they were either registered to vote at or lived at.

Upon registration, they will now remain on the electoral roll for up to 3 years. After registration, electors will also be able to apply online for either a postal or proxy vote.

Today’s enactment is the culmination of the ‘Votes for Life’ campaign, led by Conservatives Abroad – the British Conservative Party’s global network of members and supporters overseas.

The ‘Votes for Life’ campaign has also been a long-standing Conservative Manifesto commitment.

This enactment, which ensures that all British citizens abroad are able to remain part of our democracy, comes despite attempts to thwart the plans by Labour and the Liberal Democrats, with Labour being responsible for curtailing democratic freedoms through the introduction of the 15-year rule in 2001 and Lib Dem opposition hampering efforts to revert this during the 2010 – 2015 coalition.

Commenting, Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities, Michael Gove MP said:

“From today, millions of British nationals across the world can exercise their right to vote in future General Elections and have their say in the way their country should be governed.

“The Conservatives have once again shown that we are the party for democracy and protecting an individual’s right to vote.”

Conservative Party Chairman, Richard Holden MP, commented:

“After years of hard work from Conservatives Abroad and our party members we have finally seen the biggest expansion of our democratic franchise in almost a century, despite persistent opposition from Labour and Liberal Democrats.

“I look forward to reaching out and connecting with our overseas voters in the months ahead.”

Heather Harper MBE, Chairman of Conservatives Abroad, which led the campaign to restore the franchise, said:

“Millions of people living abroad, both working and retired have been prevented from exercising their democratic right to vote.

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