British Overseas Territories: The unheard voice

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The 16 British Overseas Territories are territories under the jurisdiction of the United Kingdom (Britain). They do not, however, form part of it. Instead, they are those parts of the former British Empire that have not acquired independence, or, unlike the Commonwealth realms, have voted to remain British territories. While each has its own internal leadership, most being self-governing, they share the British monarch (Queen Elizabeth II) as head of state.

 

The current minister responsible for the Territories is James Duddridge MP (elected for the Aylesbury constituency), of the Foreign Office. Gibraltar and the Sovereign Base Areas, however, are the responsibility of the Minister for Europe David Lidington MP (Rochford and Southend East constituency), while the Falkland Islands are the responsibility of Hugo Swire MP (East Devon constituency), also of the Foreign Office. As you can gather each one of these MP have not been voted in from any of the British Overseas Territories however they have the responsibility to oversee the people of these lands. This lacks accountability and democracy.

 

The French has MPs for their overseas region that stretches across the globe. In the 13th Legislature (2012-2017), the French overseas departments and territories are represented by 27 députés (M.P.s) in the French National Assembly. The reason for high amount of MPs for the French overseas territories is due to the population of French overseas territories stands at 2.6 million.

 

Now, they are over 250,000 British Citizens living in the 16 British Overseas Territories being represented by an MP in the House of Commons that they never voted for. It is time for these people to have a vote for a MP that can represent them in the House of Commons. On average, each MP’s constituency has around 70,000 registered voters. Therefore the people of the British Overseas Territories should have at least 3 MP in the House of Commons.

 

Britain’s links with the Overseas Territories are long-standing and important. The relationship is rooted in a shared history: but it moves forward, too, in partnership.

 

Recently I have became a member of the FOTBOT; Friends of the British Overseas Territories, which is an education and community focused group which aims to promote, support and increase awareness of the 260,000 British Citizens that live in the sixteen territories. For more information or to join please visit: http://fotbot.org/

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