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UPDATE DECEMBER 2018: It's not 5½ million, but 7 MILLION who were excluded from voting in 2016 and 2017. In its Impact Assessment on the Overseas Electors Bill, the Cabinet Office estimates the number of expat British Citizens disbarred by the 15-year rule as 3.5 million. My guesstimate was 2.0 million. So the excluded are 1½ million more numerous - some 7 million in total. Quite a democratic deficit in a referendum where the majority was only 1.3 million.

e-Petition to Parliament

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The Brexit referendum may have been free, but was it fair?

Give votes urgently to the 5½ million excluded from the Brexit referendum

The political scene is fragile and unstable because of the Government’s small majority with most MPs opposed to Brexit. Urgently enfranchise the some 5½ million excluded from the Brexit referendum (46½ million electors) so that future elections and referendums are more properly representative.

The 5½ million are
a) 1.5 million 16- and 17-year olds in the UK (as were allowed in the Scottish referendum)
b) 2.0 million British Citizens living abroad disqualified by the 15-year rule or because never on a UK electoral roll (as in the Conservatives’ as-yet unkept “Votes for Life” manifesto promise)
c) 2.2 million unenfranchised foreigners living permanently in the UK (as would be electors if in New Zealand)

Details of the 5½ million

Population estimates for 2014 or 2015 are used. The 1.5 million figure (a) comes from the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) )‘Overview of the UK population’ and includes all nationalities. For (b) and (c), figures were taken from the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs ‘Trends in International Migrant Stock’ and the ONS ‘Population of the UK by Country of Birth and Nationality’ Table 1.6. The UN estimates 4.9 million UK citizens outside the UK. Assuming the same age distribution as the UK population, 82% are 16 or over, and guesstimating that half have been outside the UK for more than 15 years produces the figure (b) of 2.0 million. Concerning (c), the UN estimates 4.0 million Commonwealth- and Irish-born nationals in the UK (who were entitled to vote in the Brexit referendum) and 4.6 million other foreign-born persons (who were not). Sixteen- and 17-year olds are already counted in (a). The 4.6-million figure was multiplied by 79% to estimate those over 18 (this assumes the same age distribution as for the UK) and by a further 61% (based on ONS estimates of 39% acquisition of UK nationality by the foreign-born from the top 60 countries), producing the figure of 2.2 million. The estimates (b) and (c) could doubtless be refined, but it is clear that many millions were excluded from the Brexit referendum.

Who can sign this e-Petition?

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Revised: 2016 September 29, 2020 April 02

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