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Overseas Voters Could Swing UK Election in Seats Around the Country – Latest Figures Revealed

Around a quarter of a million Brits living abroad could vote on 4 July, affecting results in areas they no longer live

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain, 2017: Tim Hemmings, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy, meets with British expats to talk about the implications for them of the Brexit negotiations. Photo: Phil Crean A/Alamy Live News

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For the first time, British citizens living abroad are eligible to vote in the general election regardless of how long they have been living outside the UK.

Around 3.5 million Brits living abroad are now thought to be eligible to vote, though only a fraction of that number are likely to have registered for a postal or proxy vote. 

Since 16 January 2024, when the 15-year limit was abolished for living abroad and still having a vote, more than 170,000 British citizens living overseas have registered to vote, according to the Electoral Commission. 

The most up to date data the watchdog has on this is from December 2023, and predates the 15-year rule being scrapped. 

In total there were 61,683 overseas electors registered in Great Britian at the end of 2023. That means there are now likely to be around a quarter of a million people able to vote from overseas in the 4 July General Election. 

“It would seem likely that the local authorities below will now be dealing with a large number of applications from UK citizens living overseas. We will be collecting data from Electoral Registration Officers after the 4 July about the total number of overseas voters registered for this poll,” a spokesperson for the Electoral Commission told Byline Times.

We don’t know where overseas voters are living, but many are likely to vote from European islands like Malta, pictured. Contributor: Kees Metselaar / Alamy Stock Photo

As of December 2023, 46 of the 49 areas with the highest number of overseas voters registered to vote from abroad are in England, and three in Scotland. 

Nineteen of the 49 areas with the highest number of overseas voters registered are in London, while eight are in the South West and six in the South East.

Groups like Unlock Democracy and the Liberal Democrats are pushing for new ‘overseas constituencies’, so that Brits living overseas do not vote for representatives of seats they have not lived in for decades but instead have a number of regional representatives dotted around the world. France uses this system for its overseas electors. 

The London boroughs of Wandsworth and Camden top the list, alongside three other council areas where more than 1,000 Brits living abroad were registered to vote as of last year. The numbers may have tripled since then following the abolition of the 15-year-rule in January this year.

While most of the London boroughs are safe Labour strongholds, Cornwall, which ranks highly on the least, sees a fierce fight for the Conservatives to hold on to their six seats this election. Two of Cornwall’s six seats could go to the Lib Dems, while the others are potential Labour gains, though areas like North Cornwall and South East Cornwall require large swings.

While the voter registration and postal vote registration deadlines have now passed, overseas voters are still able to able for a proxy vote, where a resident voter casts a ballot on their behalf.

Byline Times needs your help to investigate disinformation and electoral exclusion as we head towards the 2024 General Election.

We’re asking for your help to keep track of dodgy campaigning this election, so if you spot anything that bears investigation, please email us at votewatch24@bylinetimes.com.

Council AreaOverseas Electors on the Register as of Dec 2023RegionCountry
Wandsworth1324LondonEngland
Camden1261LondonEngland
Buckinghamshire1062South EastEngland
Lothian VJB1053ScotlandScotland
Islington1013LondonEngland
Southwark936LondonEngland
Westminster916LondonEngland
Hammersmith and Fulham884LondonEngland
Lambeth875LondonEngland
Salford826North WestEngland
Sefton808North WestEngland
Tower Hamlets800LondonEngland
Cornwall746South WestEngland
Bristol722South WestEngland
Richmond Upon Thames705LondonEngland
Hackney678LondonEngland
North Yorkshire652Yorkshire and The HumberEngland
Kensington and Chelsea640LondonEngland
Manchester611North WestEngland
Brighton and Hove601South EastEngland
Lewisham566LondonEngland
Leeds553Yorkshire and The HumberEngland
Ealing531LondonEngland
Haringey518LondonEngland
Greenwich517LondonEngland
Oxford513South EastEngland
Wiltshire482South WestEngland
Bromley478LondonEngland
Somerset458South WestEngland
Glasgow445ScotlandScotland
Kingston Upon Thames441LondonEngland
Cambridge426East of EnglandEngland
Wakefield412Yorkshire and The HumberEngland
Bath & North East Somerset405South WestEngland
Grampian VJB403ScotlandScotland
South Cambridgeshire373East of EnglandEngland
East Riding of Yorkshire370Yorkshire and The HumberEngland
Dorset366South WestEngland
Cheshire East361North WestEngland
Croydon356LondonEngland
South Gloucestershire348South WestEngland
Birmingham334West MidlandsEngland
Wokingham325South EastEngland
Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole322South WestEngland
Merton322LondonEngland
West Northamptonshire320East MidlandsEngland
Guildford315South EastEngland
New Forest303South EastEngland
Central Bedfordshire300East of EnglandEngland
Data via the Electoral Commission

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