British prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged that expats living abroad for over 15 years will at last recover their voting rights.
Mr Johnson put his promise in writing to 99-year-old Harry Schindler, who has been waging a relentless campaign for voting rights for the last 20 years.
Cited by the UK Sun, the PM’s letter to Mr Schindler said: “Now we have left the EU, it is more important than ever to strengthen the UK‘s ties with the British expat community wherever they might be.”
Said Harry: “This is a great victory for all of us patriotic Brits who have campaigned for years to get the vote back.”
His only hope is that he can make it to the next election “given that I am 100 soon”.
In the letter dated February 18 Boris told Harry: “The government is committed to scrapping the arbitrary rule that prevents British citizens who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from participating in UK parliamentary elections.
“Most British citizens overseas retain deep ties to the United Kingdom. Many still have family here, some will return here, others are drawing a British pension after a lifetime of hard work and some, including yourself, have fought for our country.
“Given those strong links, British expats have a right to influence decisions on foreign policy, trade and many other issues that directly affect their lives.
“We will be making an announcement on plans to deliver votes for life in due course and I would like to thank you for your steadfast campaigning on this issue, as well as the brave service you have given our country.”
Explains the Sun, Harry, who was awarded an MBE by the Queen, has taken his fight to the High Court in London and to the European Court of Human Rights – but on both occasions he lost.
Boris Johnson’s letter has now reversed all the heartache, and delighted an elderly campaigner (and no doubt many other expats as well).