Supreme Court denies expats Brexit vote

Over a million British expats have been denied the right to vote in the EU referendum following a ruling of the Supreme Court that people who have lived outside of the UK for more than 15 years cannot vote on June 23.

Around 1-2 million expats would have been allowed to cast their vote to determine the UK’s future as a member of the European Union.

Those campaigning for the right to vote, including Jacquelyn Maclennan, 54, a lawyer from Inverness who has lived in Belgium for the past 29 years, argued that the 15-year rule contained in section 2 of the EU Referendum Act 2015 was a restriction on their freedom of movement and was an unjustifiable infringement on their common law right to vote.

But Lady Hale, Lord Mance, Lord Reed, Lord Sumption and Lord Hughes unanimously ruled against allowing the vote.

Lady Hale said: “We do have considerable sympathy for the situation in which the applicants find themselves. We understand that this is something that concerns them deeply, but we cannot discern a legal basis for challenging this statute.”

Solicitor Richard Stein, from Leigh Day, said: “We can now only hope the government will take immediate steps to ensure the injustice that will be present during this referendum is never repeated again in any future votes.”

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