Supreme court rules against British ex-pat vote

Britons lose supreme court ruling on ex-pat voting in EU referendum.

The British supreme court has ruled against a last-ditch appeal by two British ex-pats to overturn a law barring Britons who have lived abroad for more than 15 years from voting in British elections.

The legal case by Italian resident Harry Shindler MBE and Belgium resident Jacquelyn MacLennan, who have both lived outside the UK for decades, was rejected by the court of appeal on 20 May, ahead of the upcoming “Brexit” referendum on 23 June.

The supreme court, the highest court in Britain, upheld the earlier ruling by the appeal court, meaning that up to two million British citizens living abroad will be barred from casting their vote in the crucial referendum on whether or not Britain should leave the European Union.

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The case was taken by 95-year-old Shindler, a veteran of the Battle of Anzio and the liberation of Rome in world war two, and MacLennan, a Scottish lawyer based in Brussels.

Shindler has lived in Italy for 35 years while MacLennon has lived in Belgium since 1987.

They argued that they were affected directly by the Brexit referendum, contesting that the rule was “arbitary” and restricted their right to freedom of movement under EU law.

Following the ruling by the British supreme court, a disappointed MacLennon told The Guardian that the pair would not attempt to appeal the decision at a European court.