Election 2019: Could Expat Voters Hold The Balance Of Power?

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA

If British expats rush to vote in General Election 2019, what chance do they have in swaying the balance of power?

A record 285,000 expat voters signed up for the last election in 2017.

Over 650 seats, that averages out as 438 expat votes a constituency.

That doesn’t sound a lot, but with 51 seats in the last election securing a majority of fewer than 2% of the voters listed in the constituency, expats could make a difference.

For instance, Fife North East had a majority of just two votes as the most marginal constituency in the UK.

Seats at risk from a small swing

If three more expats had registered and cast their votes for the Liberal Democrats, instead of a Scottish Nationalist MP, the Lib Dems would have won the seat.

Tory rebel Amber Rudd stands as an independent in Hastings and Rye, where she won with a majority of 346 in 2017.

Labour’s Rosie Duffield could be under threat in Canterbury, where she defends a majority of 185.

Emma Coad holds Kensington for Labour with a slender majority of just 20, Tory Zac Goldsmith has a majority of 45 in Richmond Park and Labour’s Laura Smith has a majority of 45 in Crewe and Nantwich.

Scotland not as staunch SNP as first thought

All these seats could see a swing if expats registered and voted.

Of course, 438 is an average and could be enough to make a difference in some seats.

Expat groups are urging Brits abroad to apply for postal votes and to return them within plenty of time to avoid delays and lost votes.

Anyone with a vote can apply for a postal vote without giving a reason.

Most of the seats in Scotland are up for grabs as marginals as they were won with a majority of less than 10%.

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