• Spain's news in English
UK rallies expats in Spain ahead of referendum on Brexit
Photo: AFP

UK rallies expats in Spain ahead of referendum on Brexit

The Local · 3 Feb 2016, 13:40

Published: 03 Feb 2016 13:40 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The expat vote is expected to have a decisive impact on the referendum on whether Britain should remain within the EU with polls currently showing it is neck and neck.

But with those living abroad the most likely to be against a Brexit, could they tip the balance?

Only those who have been on the electoral roll in the UK within the last 15 years are eligible to vote under the same rules that apply to general elections.

The so-called '15-year rule' prevents around a million of the estimated five million Britons living overseas from voting in UK parliamentary elections.

But the British Embassy in Spain has launched a campaign to encourage those expat residents who can to register.

READ: 8-point guide on how to register to vote in the EU referendum

Of the 283,000 Britons registered on the padrón as resident in Spain, just 11,000 are already registered in the UK.

British Ambassador Simon Manley has a message for expats. Photo: FCO 

"Interest among expats in the EU referendum is high, but awareness that you may be able to vote is low. We want as many expats as possible to be aware that they can have their say," said Simon Manley, British Ambassador to Spain, at a meeting with expats in Javea.

"You can register to vote in a few minutes via the government website - and do encourage your friends, family and colleagues to do the same," he said.

The campaign emphasizes that registering is so simple and takes less than five minutes but should be done well ahead of the deadline to allow time for a ballot paper to be posted from the UK and return as a postal vote.

Story continues below…

Although no date has yet been set, the referendum looks likely to be held as early as June 2016 although it could be put back to the autumn if David Cameron does not reach a deal before the February 19th meeting of EU leaders.

The question, which has already been approved in the EU referendum bill will ask "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?"

For more news from Spain, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.es)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Spain's Rajoy says king has tasked him with forming govt
Photo: AFP

Spain's king on Tuesday tasked Mariano Rajoy with forming a government, taking the acting conservative prime minister a step closer to power again after a 10-month political deadlock.

Two imams arrested in Ibiza resort over 'Isis support'
The men were arrested in the resort of Sant Antoni de Portmany. Photo: Jose A / Flickr

Two Moroccan imams at a mosque on the Spanish resort island of Ibiza were arrested Tuesday on suspicion of backing the Islamic State group and inciting jihad.

Balearic Islands choose to keep summertime forever
The islands will have longer evenings during winter. Photo: AFP

The Balearic Islands want to keep summertime when the rest of Spain turns the clocks back on Sunday.

  Brazilian had 'uncontrollable desire to kill': Spain police
Francois Patrick Nogueira Gouveia has been charged with murdering his uncle, his wife and their two children. Photo: Guardia Civil.

A Brazilian teenager accused of dismembering his uncle and aunt and killing their two young sons in a grisly crime that shocked Spain had an "uncontrollable desire to kill", police said on Monday.

Man rescued from bin after climbing in to find old clothes
Photo: Policía Local Murcia

Police were called after passersby reported hearing a man calling for help from within a rubbish bin in the Vistabella neighbourhood of Murcia, southern Spain.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available