James Jackson, 71, does not have the right to vote in the UK, having become a victim of the rule preventing Britons from voting at home once they’ve been out of the country for 15 years. However, nothing in law stops him standing as a Parliamentary candidate in the general election, so he plans to throw his hat in the ring as a candidate for the safe Tory seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip. In an interview with the getwestlondon news website, Mr Jackson said: “This Kafkaesque situation means that, theoretically, I could win a parliamentary seat and take my place in the House of Commons, despite living abroad and not having a vote.” The website reported that Mr Jackson formerly lived in Colwyn Bay, North Wales, working as treasurer of the former Colwyn Borough Council. He left the UK in 1996 to work as an internal auditor/treasurer for the Falkland Islands government and later retired to live in Narbonne, southern France.
He explained that he chose Uxbridge and South Ruislip because he wanted to run against London Mayor Mr Johnson, who also supports giving expatriates the right to vote in the UK.
Brian Cave, a campaigner for expat voting rights, who is also retired and living in France, said: “Mr Jackson might be called brave. I would say courageous and valiant.”
The Tories have promised to abolish the 15-year rule if they win power on May 7. Tory MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown launched a Private Member’s Bill in December in an attempt to force a rule change before next month’s poll. However, it was not debated due to a lack of time before Parliament was dissolved on Monday.