Introduce overseas constituencies

Proposer
tmtmtmtm
State

Rejected

Vote Score

-997

Age

2212 days


@tmtmtmtm edited manifesto/democracy.md - about 6 years ago

Introduce voting by proportional representation using the Single Transferable Vote (STV) method in all General and Local Elections.

Introduce new constituencies for British citizens living abroad.

Investigate the feasibility of electronic voting at all elections, with a view to increasing accessibility and turnout.

Reduce the age of voting at General, Scottish, and European Elections (ie to legislative bodies) and all national and local referenda to those aged 16 years and above. Investigate the feasibility of direct digital democracy - using online tools to gradually replace representative democracy with increased direct participation in the legislative process by all electors.

[^1]: Do we need a written constitution? - The Constitution Society

tmtmtmtm

@tmtmtmtm - about 6 years ago

Currently British citizens who move abroad still vote in Parliamentary elections in the constituency in which they were last registered, even though they often have no remaining ties to that location. Instead, introduce one or more overseas constituencies whose MP(s) specifically represent the people who now live there, similarly to the French system. This is even more important in the UK where there is a much closer tie between an MP and their constituents.

Floppy

@Floppy - about 6 years ago

👍

Is this for British citizens who live in other countries, or who live British Overseas Territories like Gibraltar? Or both in different ways?

tmtmtmtm

@tmtmtmtm - about 6 years ago

It's for British citizens who move abroad, but who can still vote in Westminster elections. It's about closing the oddity where their MP is that of where they last lived, even if they have no current connection to there. It's not about extending representation to people who don't currently have it.

digitalWestie

@digitalWestie - about 6 years ago

Yep, I currently get this as an Italian citizen and quite like it. 👍

metaljoe

@metaljoe - about 6 years ago

Is there a minimum number requirement for an overseas constituency? Or a maximum? We could easily end up with the situation that an overseas constituency is out-of-proportion to UK constituencies.

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - about 6 years ago

👎 seems like a bit of a hack to me. Having large regional constituencies would make this less important, or a system like in Scotland where you have an 'additional member system' that could vote in, using proportional representation to even out imbalances.

tmtmtmtm

@tmtmtmtm - about 6 years ago

I deliberately kept this vague as to how many such constituencies there should be, as that's a wider question that cross-cuts with many other issues. If the concept is accepted, then it just becomes a question that feeds into the wider discussions of how constituencies are formed.

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - about 6 years ago

@tmtmtmtm ok, so a general question is whether it even makes sense for electoral eligibility to be by citizenship rather than location of residence (currently there are different criteria for general elections http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/faq/voting-and-registration/who-is-eligible-to-vote-at-a-uk-general-election vs local government http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/faq/voting-and-registration/who-is-eligible-to-vote-at-a-local-government-election).

tmtmtmtm

@tmtmtmtm - about 6 years ago

@frankieroberto this isn't really about the size of the constituencies — it's about having representatives that can more accurately represent their constituents. Having an MP who explicitly represents the British citizens living in Spain, for example, would be much effective at reflecting their reality than in having that representation diluted across all the different places where they moved from, which in practice simply leads to them being completely isolated from the system. I don't think I understand your 'additional member system' suggestion — if that deals with this, then I'd certainly like to understand it better.

tmtmtmtm

@tmtmtmtm - about 6 years ago

@frankieroberto Yes — most countries, at least within Europe, work in the same manner. If you want to make a proposal that you should lose the right to vote by moving overseas, then go for it (though I think it would really need to be done in conjunction with at least the EU, if not wider afield, than as a unilateral measure) — my proposal is simply for tidying up an oddity that exists within the current system.

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - about 6 years ago

@tmtmtmtm right. I think longer-term it'd make most sense to vote for the government (at all levels) of the place where you live, rather than was born in (or have citizenship of). But you're right that that would require a more international change.

However, in the short term, I still think it makes more sense to allow this issue to become moot through wider electoral reform (e.g. some form of proportional representation).

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - about 6 years ago

Sorry I don't think British citizens who choose to be resident in other countries should be represented at all in Parliament. They should be represented in the locality where they live otherwise they're not going to be affected at all by the legislation being enacted in their name. 👎

— Sent from Mailbox

On Tue, Oct 7, 2014 at 12:20 PM, Frankie Roberto [email protected] wrote:

@tmtmtmtm right. I think longer-term it'd make most sense to vote for the government (at all levels) of the place where you live, rather than was born in (or have citizenship of). But you're right that that would require a more international change.

However, in the short term, I still think it makes more sense to allow this issue to become moot through wider electoral reform (e.g. some form of proportional representation).

Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub: https://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/230#issuecomment-58169739

tmtmtmtm

@tmtmtmtm - about 6 years ago

@frankieroberto: If constituencies are being removed, then yes, I'm certainly not suggesting that new overseas ones should be created. So I'm happy for this change to be obsoleted by any that do that. But if constituencies remain, then I think restructuring how overseas citizens are represented within that makes sense.

tmtmtmtm

@tmtmtmtm - about 6 years ago

@PaulJRobinson that's a significant change to how this currently works, though, and I'm not even certain that it's possible under EU law to remove that, never mind sensible.

Certainly not all legislation passed at Westminster will affect citizens who live abroad, but lots of legislation is passed that doesn't affect every citizen living within the UK either. And it's entirely possible for the UK government to pass legislation that does impact anyone who holds a UK passport, no matter where they live.

Floppy

@Floppy - about 6 years ago

I'd certainly say that overseas citizens should have the vote. Take policy on EU membership as an obvious one, overseas citizens would have a definite interest in the outcome of that.

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - about 6 years ago

@Floppy what about if the country you were resident in was also taking a vote on whether to remain/become part of the EU – surely you also deserve a vote in that?

Ultimately, I think the ideal should be towards abolishing citizenship worldwide, simply allowing anyone to live anywhere (and having a say in how the place where they live is run).

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - about 6 years ago

But British citizens living abroad don't pay tax to the British Government. As the Amercian Revolutionaries (kind of) said "No Representation without Taxation"

*Paul *

about.me/pauljrobinson http://about.me/pauljrobinson

On 7 October 2014 12:29, Tony Bowden [email protected] wrote:

@PaulJRobinson https://github.com/PaulJRobinson that's a significant change to how this currently works, though, and I'm not even certain that it's possible under EU law to remove that, never mind sensible.

Certainly not all legislation passed at Westminster will affect citizens who live abroad, but lots of legislation is passed that doesn't affect every citizen living within the UK either. And it's entirely possible for the UK government to pass legislation that does impact anyone who holds a UK passport, no matter where they live.

— Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub https://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/230#issuecomment-58170508 .

Floppy

@Floppy - about 6 years ago

@frankieroberto you certainly do, yes. Does citizenship of a country not imply representation? So, if you are a dual citizen, you would have dual representation.

tmtmtmtm

@tmtmtmtm - about 6 years ago

"No Representation without Taxation"

a) Many UK citizens living abroad do still pay tax in the UK, as many tax rules are based around domicile, which is significantly different from residence.

b) Are you really suggesting that only people currently paying tax be allowed to vote?

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - about 6 years ago

Regarding b) no I'm not, but I think it's one other factor (in addition to those I mentioned earlier) that counts against ex-pats having a vote

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - about 6 years ago

To be fair to the British colonists, I think that phrase is meant to be the other way round... ;-)

tmtmtmtm

@tmtmtmtm - about 6 years ago

@PaulJRobinson, your points seems to be that UK citizens who move abroad should lose their right to vote because

a) they are no longer affected by UK legislation b) they no longer pay UK taxes

Am I missing others?

Note that I'm not suggesting any new rights here — UK citizens who move abroad already do have the right to vote. I'm simply suggesting bringing things more in line with your suggestion that "they should be represented in the locality where they live", rather than one where they happened to live previously.

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - about 6 years ago

If they're to be represented in Westminster at all, then yes it would be better if they had an MP for Benidorm (or wherever), but I'm not yet convinced they shouldn't simply go to their local representative instead of having a British MP. Yes those two (a and b) reasons are my main reasons, but a third being that they already do have a representative by voting in their local leglisature/Council.

Those who have a second home abroad, but are still domiciled in the UK are a different matter. I'm chiefly referring to those British citizens who have moved permanently abroad. I'm not talking about removing their citizenship, or denying them the vote if they ever chose to return to live permanently in the UK once again, but simply whilst they are living abroad it seems wrong to me that they should have representation in Westminster at all.

*Paul *

about.me/pauljrobinson http://about.me/pauljrobinson

On 7 October 2014 12:50, Tony Bowden [email protected] wrote:

@PaulJRobinson https://github.com/PaulJRobinson, your points seems to be that UK citizens who move abroad should lose their right to vote because

a) they are no longer affected by UK legislation b) they no longer pay UK taxes

Am I missing others?

Note that I'm not suggesting any new rights here — UK citizens who move abroad already do have the right to vote. I'm simply suggesting moving things more in line with your suggestion that "they should be represented in the locality where they live", rather than one where they happened to live previously.

— Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub https://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/230#issuecomment-58172520 .

frankieroberto

@frankieroberto - about 6 years ago

@tmtmtmtm I'm not totally against this modest change (whilst still wanting longer-term change), however there are some practical considerations under the current FPTP system, namely whether there should be a single oversess constituency of one member, or multiple single-member constituencies (for different parts of the world, or randomly assigned?) or a multiple-member overseas constituency (in which case, what should the voting system be?). These would all depend on how big that portion of the electorate is, given that constituencies are meant to be of roughly equal sizes (although the Isle of Wight has 10x the registered voters of Na h-Eileanan an Iar according to this). Also, would this happen as a one-off change (in which case we'd gain some MPs?), or as part of a wider Electoral Commission boundary review?

tmtmtmtm

@tmtmtmtm - about 6 years ago

@PaulJRobinson I don't quite understand your third point, so I suspect I may be misunderstanding it. Yes, people who move abroad can vote in the equivalent of local council elections, but then everyone who lives in the UK has that ability too, and their MP is seen as significantly different enough to that.

If you mean that they have the ability to vote for the equivalent of an MP in the country to which they have moved, then no, they usually don't. Some countries give this degree of suffrage based simply on residency, but the vast majority don't. In any case, where a UK citizen can vote in their new country of residence, then yes, they already lose the ability to vote in Westminster elections. My proposal is simply to tweak the system for the vast majority of cases where that's not so.

As I said earlier, I'm not sure that it would be even possible under EU law for the UK to introduce a new law to remove the vote from its citizens abroad (who also don't get to vote in national elections in another country), but if that's what you're suggesting introducing, I suspect we should introduce a new pull-request for that to contain the discussion slightly.

PaulJRobinson

@PaulJRobinson - about 6 years ago

Ah! I apologise I (clearly wrongly) assumed that anyone moving abroad automatically gained the vote where they now reside. Ok in that case I change to 👍

*Paul *

about.me/pauljrobinson http://about.me/pauljrobinson

On 7 October 2014 13:21, Tony Bowden [email protected] wrote:

@PaulJRobinson https://github.com/PaulJRobinson I don't quite understand your third point, so I suspect I may be misunderstanding it. Yes, people who move abroad can vote in the equivalent of local council elections, but then everyone who lives in the UK has that ability too, and their MP is seen as significantly different enough to that.

If you mean that they have the ability to vote for the equivalent of an MP in the country to which they have moved, then no, they usually don't. Some countries give this degree of suffrage based simply on residency, but the vast majority don't. In any case, where a UK citizen can vote in their new country of residence, then yes, they already lose the ability to vote in Westminster elections. My proposal is simply to tweak the system for the vast majority of cases where that's not so.

As I said earlier, I'm not sure that it would be even possible under EU law for the UK to introduce a new law to remove the vote from its citizens abroad (who also don't get to vote in national elections in another country), but if that's what you're suggesting introducing, I suspect we should introduce a new pull-request for that to contain the discussion slightly.

— Reply to this email directly or view it on GitHub https://github.com/openpolitics/manifesto/pull/230#issuecomment-58175553 .

tmtmtmtm

@tmtmtmtm - about 6 years ago

@frankieroberto I'm deliberately avoiding that question :) That's partially because I don't know the answer, especially in terms of how it would intersect with related issues that are still being debated, and partially because I'd rather gauge support for the wider issue before getting bogged down in the specific implementation details. That seems to be the case for many of the other manifesto items, too, though. For now the proposal simply assumes that there would be some solution that people find acceptable. I'm open to arguments that this should fail because there are no possible solutions, even if there's support for the wider issue, but I'm slightly sceptical of that.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - about 6 years ago

I wonder if this is even necessary (though I'm not against it) as what this revolves around is the idea of local representation. With #219 we're making a step towards a more proportional system that removes the local representation aspect. This is a good thing, in my eyes, because far too many people assume their MP has power locally, to the detriment of local politics which becomes nothing more than a referendum on the performance of the governing party nationally.

If we assume we're heading to a proportional system (I hope so) I think we need to assume we're going to largely lose the locality bit, making this change, if implemented, very short lived.

tmtmtmtm

@tmtmtmtm - about 6 years ago

219 seems to me to be very deliberately retaining a local representation aspect.

philipjohn

@philipjohn - about 6 years ago

It is, but it significantly lessens the local connection, and shows the direction I think we're heading in.

Floppy

@Floppy - almost 6 years ago

@frankieroberto are you still opposed to this addition? There would be more detail to work out, but from the comments above, it doesn't seem you're opposed to the general principle. Any more recent thoughts? Obviously this will evolve further along with other constituency discussions like #219, but it would be great to get the general principle agreed.

Floppy

@Floppy - over 5 years ago

Closing due to block, sadly.