Conservatives Pledge Minister For Britons

UK Foreign Secretary, David Cameron. Credit: DavidCameronOfficial/

In the midst of the Conservative’s campaign for the general elections on July 4th, U.K. Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, has announced a groundbreaking commitment from the Conservative Party to appoint a dedicated minister for the 5 million Britons living abroad. This new role aims to champion the interests of British expatriates under the next Conservative Government.

Aligning with International Practices

This new ministerial role aligns with practices in countries like Ireland, India, and Mexico, which have specific ministers for expatriates. The UK’s new stance reflects a broader international trend towards enfranchising overseas citizens, with 115 out of 214 countries and territories allowing such voting rights.

Addressing the Needs of Overseas Citizens

The Conservatives and the Foreign Secretary have stated citizens living overseas are still affected by referendums on things such as immigration, pensions, trade, and foreign policy, and should have as much right to vote. In the Conservatives’ 2019 manifesto, it was stated that the party had aimed to abolish the rule that stripped expatriates of their voting rights after 15 years abroad. After the Elections Act in 2022, the Conservatives fulfilled their promise, and the 15-year limit had been amended. “Votes for life” were introduced for British expatriates.

New Voting Laws for Expats

Following this security for the expatriates to vote in their original constituency, new laws effective January 2024 now allow all Britons living overseas to participate in the UK general elections, with their votes counting in the constituencies they last resided in. This commitment brought the United Kingdom on par with countries such as Spain, France, South Africa, and Italy, which all allow their citizens abroad to have full voting rights in national elections.

David Rutley Nominated for New Expat Ministerial Role

David Rutley has been nominated to take on this new ministerial role should the Conservatives secure another term. “Conservatives will ensure British citizens overseas have a strong, dedicated voice in Government, championing and standing up for their interests,” Rutley stated. He has previously served as the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Welfare Delivery of the United Kingdom from 2001 until October 2022, and currently serves as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Importance of the Initiative

The Foreign Secretary emphasized the importance of this initiative, noting that British expatriates maintain strong ties to the UK, often through family connections or plans to return. He has stated how “Britons living overseas are flying the flag for Britain abroad and nearly all of them retain a strong interest in the UK. Conservatives will ensure they have a strong voice in Government.”

Significant Expatriate Communities

Over a million Britons reside in Australia, followed by substantial communities in the US, Canada, and Spain, to name a few. The effort that has been made for Britons to be able to have a voice abroad means that Westminster has a potential five million votes to campaign.

Conservative Leadership and Global Challenges

The Conservative Party is positioning this initiative within a broader narrative of strong, decisive leadership in a volatile global landscape. “The UK has faced unprecedented challenges caused by Covid and Ukraine. But our economy grew last year and is forecast to grow faster than Germany, France, and Japan over the next six years,” Cameron added.

Foreign Secretary David Cameron meets with Gibraltar Chief Minister Fabian Picardo, at the British Residence in Brussels. Credit: Kirsty O’Connor / FCDO

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Written by

Darryl Kelly


    • Peter Dare

      12 June 2024 • 12:20

      I applied after 45 years without a vote and was accepted.

    • John Hodges

      12 June 2024 • 16:52

      The Tories, over the course of the last 14 years, have virtually run the UK into the ground. Their dogmatic and unnecessary ‘austerity’ regime, ostensibly to reduce government debt has done the exact opposite, while making the rich a whole richer (many more obscenely so) and the less well-off a good deal less well-off. This little appeaser of a policy is certainly not enough for me to vote for the them.

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