The British government has confirmed that long-term expats outside of the United Kingdom—those who have lived abroad for more than 15 years—will not be allowed to vote in the June 8 general election announced by Theresa May on Tuesday morning.
The British Embassy in Madrid, in a reply to questions from The Spain Report about the implications of the Prime Minister's statement, said: “We remain committed to changing the law to enfranchise all British ex-pats, but unfortunately there is not sufficient time to implement this for this general election”.
After the Brexit referendum, legislative measures meant to do away with the 15-year rule, known as the "vote for life" initiative, were announced by Theresa May's government last October, but the parliamentary bills needed to amend existing legislation have not been tabled.
Chris Skidmore, Mrs. May's Minister for the Constitution, said in October that "British citizens who move abroad remain a part of our democracy and it is important they have the ability to participate".
After any legal changes, technical adjustments would have to be made to the software and systems used to hold elections.
The Embassy declined to comment on whether or not a state visit to the United Kingdom by Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia—for June 6-8—would go ahead as planned.
The last day of their visit would coincide with general election day.
Zarzuela Palace also declined to comment until Westminster formally approves the general election.
More information is likely to be available after parliament votes on the matter over the next few days.
The state visit was previously cancelled in February 2016 due to political uncertainty in Spain surrounding the formation of a new government after an inconclusive general election the previous December.