A call from the Institute for Public Policy research for the right of Scots abroad to vote in elections to the Scottish Parliament has been backed by SNP MSP Rob Gibson.
At present expats of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are allowed to vote in UK and European Elections however they are barred from elections to devolved bodies and local elections. The IPPR says that this should be changed and ex pats should be allowed to vote in devolved elections.
The Highlands and Islands member has lodged a motion in Parliament calling for the recommendations to be adopted.
Mr Gibson said…..
"I fully back the recommendation to allows Scots abroad to have a vote in the Scottish Elections. The ability to vote will help Scots keep a positive and active interest in the present and future of their country. This link might help them return one day."
"Much as Homecoming 2009 is encouraging the as and historic Scot's Diaspora to come home. Then I feel that it would be a symbolic positive gesture to say to those that have just left that they still have a stake in the country if they choose to use it."
"The report suggests that Scots ex pats would almost prefer to vote in the Scottish Elections than UK one's. I know of at least one person originally from Alness who has moved to the US who was desperate to vote in the 2007 elections and is itching to vote in 2011. I see no plausible reason why he and others should not get that chance.
"I hope that this call Is heeded by the London UK Government who have full powers over elections in Scotland. However I have a feeling that the plea will fall on deaf ears. I suspect that not until Scotland has full powers over elections will there be any movement on the issue.
Copy of Motion
S3M-3729 Rob Gibson: Allow Expatriates Scottish Voting Rights—That the Parliament welcomes the recommendation by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) calling for UK expatriates to be given the right to vote in devolved elections; notes that UK citizens living abroad are able to vote in UK general and European Parliament elections but are not entitled to vote in local council or devolved parliament elections; further notes the IPPR’s findings in 2006 that around 5.5 million UK citizens lived outside Britain; agrees with the IPPR that the freedom to vote would provide Scottish migrants with a way of maintaining a positive link with Scotland and encourage their remigration in the future; hails the Homecoming Scotland 2009 events, which are making efforts to engage with the diaspora of Scots living abroad, and finally calls on the UK Government to transfer the control of Scottish Parliament elections to Scotland so that Scottish expatriates will be given the opportunity to have a say in their country’s future.