Conservative party promise dedicated minister for British expats

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Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, has pledged that the five million Britons living overseas will have a dedicated minister to champion their interests, under the next Conservative Government. New laws came into effect in January 2024 to allow all Britons living overseas to vote in this general election, with their vote counting in the constituency they last lived in. The Conservative Party has delivered on its clear plan set out in the 2019 manifesto to remove the rule imposed by the last Labour Government that meant British expatriates lost their rights to vote after 15 years abroad.
The 2024 manifesto will include this new commitment to take expat rights further.

The largest number of Britons overseas live in Australia, at over a million, followed by the US and Canada. Around a million Britons live in European countries such as Spain. Many countries have ministers with responsibility for expatriates, such as Ireland, Israel, India and Mexico. Responsibility for the cross-cutting role will be taken on by a Minister at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, but represent and champion expat interests across government.

Foreign Office Minister, David Rutley, has been nominated as the Conservative minister who would take on this additional, new cross-government portfolio under the next Conservative government. David Rutley said: “Conservatives will ensure British citizens overseas have a strong, dedicated voice in Government, championing and standing up for their interests.”

Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, said: “Britons living overseas are flying the flag for Britain abroad and nearly all of them retain a strong interest in the UK, with family ties or the intention to return. Conservatives will ensure they have a strong voice in Government, standing up for their interests. The UK has faced unprecedented challenges caused by Covid and Ukraine. But our economy grew last year, it is growing this year, and over the next six years it is forecast to grow faster than Germany, France and Japan.

The choice now is whether to build on the progress we have made or risk going back to square one with Keir Starmer and Labour who have no plan. “With threats rising across the world, Britain needs a clear plan and bold action. We are living in a world more dangerous, more volatile, more confrontational, than most of us have ever known. We need to face up to that fact and act accordingly. Rishi Sunak and the Conservatives will.”

We are facing a more contested world. Under the Conservatives, Britain has been out there taking bold action and competing. We are investing in old alliances and forging new ones. From AUKUS to the Hiroshima Accords with Japan, in Government the Conservatives have been strengthening our security partnerships. This Conservative Government has also struck new trade agreements with Australia and New Zealand, and the UK is acceding to the CPTPP. Negotiations are underway with India, South Korea and the Gulf Cooperation Council too.

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