Around two million Brits won’t be able to vote in the UK’s upcoming referendum on its membership in the European Union. They are expats who live outside of the United Kingdom, and some of their number lost a legal challenge last month to get a say in the June 23 vote.
When a British person lives outside of the UK for more than 15 years, they lose the right to vote in any type of election back home. But since expats’ lives could be turned upside-down in the event of “Brexit” (a British exit from the EU) they argued that they deserved a vote regardless.
“The longer you’ve been away, the more you’ve got to lose,” says Jon Worth, a political communications consultant and blogger from the UK who has been living in Berlin for several years.
The pro-Brexit camp is keen to limit immigration from the rest of the EU should the UK leave the bloc, which could change the status of Brits abroad, depending on how other countries treat Brits living within their borders. (A core principle of the EU is that citizens have the freedom to live and work in any other member state.)