A British expat, Peter Johnson, has created an online petition in order to gain backing for his plea for an MP (Member of Parliament) with the specific role of representing those living overseas to be introduced.
Mr. Johnson, who is a retired policeman, has lived in France, Germany, Spain, and Malta. He got the idea after France introduced a representative for the constituency of Ireland, United Kingdom, and Scandinavia. France now has 11 MPs to represent expats. Italy has had MPs to represent expats since 2006.
Peter also wants to change expat’s voting rights. In most European countries, expat’s right to vote in their country of citizenship is permanent. British expats can only for up to 15 years after they have left the country to live abroad. They can also only vote in the last constituency that they lived in.
He told a news provider, “There are millions of Brits living abroad and they deserve a say in what goes on. Many of them are still paying tax in the UK in one way or another and they should have a say on where their money goes.”
More than 5 million British citizens live as expats, with the highest numbers being in Spain, North America, and Australia. Therefore, these are areas where an MP would be most useful.
Mr. Johnson believes that “As with the French system I see no reason why each geographical area cannot be represented, similar to Europe, USA, Canada, the Middle East, and Asia for example”.
His petition can be found at Expat MPs petition. It has 517 signatures at this time and needs 100,000 if it is to be debated in the House of Commons.