A teacher and freelance writer who splits his time between Scotland and Spain has launched a petition to urge the introduction of MPs for British citizens living abroad.
Alastair Stewart’s petition to ‘Introduce MPs to represent the interests of British citizens living abroad’ calls on the UK Government to acknowledge the unique concerns of British citizens across the world, particularly in Europe as Brexit negotiations continue.
According to official guidelines, if the petition receives 10,000 supporting signatures the UK Government will issue a formal response. If it reaches 100,000 it will then be considered for debate in the House of Commons.
Alastair, who operates between Almeria and Edinburgh, explained that while other countries such as France, Italy and Macedonia have representatives for nationals living and working overseas, the UK has none.
Of the petition, he said, “There are 1.3 million Britons in Europe and millions more living and working across the world. We have unique concerns about tax, health and our right to work. The Brexit vote has sparked complete uncertainty about the plans of the UK Government and the future in general, and that’s just in Europe.
“Full-time MPs, elected by citizens abroad, are urgently needed to represent our issues and concerns. While we can register to vote at home, we’re voting in a constituency that some people have little connection to anymore and might not have visited in years.
“It’s completely unjust that someone living in say, Edinburgh, has to fight to have their representative solve local matters all while someone living out-with Britain is taking up the time of the same MP.
“That’s not fair to people in the UK, or residents abroad, and it’s a democratic deficit that should be solved within the lifetime of this Parliament. Brexit might be a full-time job for officials, but it’s a deep source of worry for citizens abroad.
“We’re British citizens, and we deserve to have our voices heard.”
Alastair encourages all UK citizens, at home and across the world, to sign the petition and to share it with as many people as possible.