Welcome to our April 2019 newsletter - a quick round-up of recent happenings and upcoming opportunities especially for our members outside Europe.
Please do get involved as much as possible. Get in touch with a member of our Exec Team to introduce yourself and find out how to get involved and help.
We are all looking in horror at how Brexit is developing and the extensive damage being done to the UK's image and credibility abroad.
The likelihood is that a No Deal will put all Brits in Europe in the same league of deprivation of their rights as many who live in the rest of the world.
Our forthcoming policy paper will take account of these shifting sands. We rely on all our members to come forward and participate in the closing stages of our online survey with their observations of what the situation is in their countries and what should be done about it.
Lib Dems Overseas drinks events took place in late January and throughout February in New York, Cayman, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Brisbane.
New York drinks meeting on Feb 13th.
Cayman Islands drinks meeting on Feb 3rd.
There have also been over 6M signatures on a petition to Revoke Article 50 and Remain in the EU. Despite this huge response not a single Conservative MP turned up to the debate on 1st April!
Some of our LDO members were able to travel to London for the march...
Our policy consultation is still open, Are you a Brit living overseas? You can currently vote for 15 years from leaving the UK - but the LibDems are supporting Votes4Life.
Policy Consultation for Brits Overseas via a 5 min survey https://form.jotform.com/82578072072156
While our policy consultation remains open ( https://form.jotform.com/82578072072156) we have been looking through the great feedback received so far. We want our proposed policies to be as strong as possible so your input has been valuable.
There are clear messages on the need for the UK to clarify a fair process for British nationals wanting to return to the UK with their family, especially if they have married a non-Briton and had or adopted children whilst overseas. In particular, there are requests for policies to confirm the UK citizenship rights of third generation children born overseas (the grandchildren of the original migrant).
Healthcare arrangements are a huge area of varied practices, akin in importance to pensions for those living abroad. We will look at the healthcare expectations for Britons whilst they are abroad and what is available from the NHS when they return to the UK.
There has also been much discussion on the level of government support and access to British institutions that is available to those of us living overseas. Voting rights and methods (electronic or paper ballots at embassies?) are a more obvious example but some have expressed concern about a 'shrinking presence' of Foreign & Commonwealth Office support as they manage budget cuts at a time when the government talks about 'Global Britain'! Another interesting topic has been raised on whether the government is doing the right thing by its nationals when it refuses to pay ransoms in kidnap and hostage situations.
There is much support for the six policy ideas originally suggested although recognition that enabling Votes For Life and Overseas Constituencies may be complex - what if the Briton never intends return to the UK or has never lived there? Also, some respondents object to the term 'expat' as it does not describe what we properly are: migrants... for economic or lifestyle reasons or, perhaps, just by accident of birth.
Please keep your thoughts and input coming. We are reading everything and you can help shape Liberal Democrat policy.