The UK’s Min­is­ter of State for Europe, David Lid­ing­ton, ex­plains why ex­pats should vote in the ref­er­en­dum on whether Bri­tain should leave the Euro­pean Union

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ne of the most historic de­ci­sions the UK will make for a gen­er­a­tion is in just a few weeks. On Thurs­day, June 23, the Bri­tish peo­ple will vote in a ref­er­en­dum to de­cide whether the UK should re­main in or leave the Euro­pean Union.

I am con­vinced that we will be stronger, safer and bet­ter off re­main­ing in a re­formed EU, rather than out on our own.

But this is a de­ci­sion for you, the Bri­tish peo­ple, not me or any other politi­cian. The out­come of this ref­er­en­dum will af­fect not only your life, but the lives of your chil­dren and grand­chil­dren. So what­ever you think, make sure you have your say.

We know that Bri­tish cit­i­zens liv­ing over­seas are more in­ter­ested in this poll than any be­fore. Al­ready more of you have reg­is­tered to vote than in to­tal for last year’s Gen­eral Elec­tion. But this is still just a frac­tion of the mil­lions of Bri­tish peo­ple who live over­seas and are el­i­gi­ble to vote. That’s why we are sup­port­ing the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion to help our el­i­gi­ble cit­i­zens all over the world to reg­is­ter to vote. So what is stop­ping you? Maybe you think you are not el­i­gi­ble? You are, as long as you have been reg­is­tered to vote in the UK within the last 15 years. Or maybe you think the process will be too com­pli­cated? It’s not - it is eas­ier than ever, and takes just five min­utes on­line. You need your pass­port and Na­tional In­sur­ance num­ber then go to gov.uk/reg­is­ter-to-vote (or search for ‘UK reg­is­ter to vote’). Per­haps you are wor­ried about your vot­ing papers not reach­ing you in time? We have been work­ing with the Elec­toral Com­mis­sion to get bal­lot packs sent out much ear­lier than for pre­vi­ous polls, with enough re­turn postage. So as long as you reg­is­ter by May 16, your vote should make it back to the UK in time to be counted. If you live in a coun­try where the postal sys­tem is par­tic­u­larly slow or un­re­li­able, then you can ap­point a proxy, where some­one you trust votes in the UK on your be­half. Or per­haps you think this ref­er­en­dum doesn’t mat­ter? This de­ci­sion will af­fect your loved ones liv­ing gov.uk/reg­is­ter-to-vote back in the UK. And this de­ci­sion af­fects you - in this mod­ern world you may live or work over­seas for a few years then go back to Bri­tain. Some of you have spent a life­time work­ing in and con­tribut­ing to the UK. Most still have deep ties, whether fam­ily, prop­erty, draw­ing a pen­sion or the prospect of re­turn­ing. Re­gard­less of your story, it is clear that we all have some­thing at stake.

Fi­nally, don’t as­sume that be­cause you voted in the Gen­eral Elec­tion last year that you are still reg­is­tered to vote - you have to re­new your reg­is­tra­tion every year.

What­ever you think, and what­ever method you choose, don’t miss the op­por­tu­nity to have your say in this historic de­ci­sion, which will af­fect all of us and our fam­i­lies for decades to come. Emi­rates is to in­tro­duce a third daily ser­vice be­tween Dubai and Cape Town from July 4. The new ser­vice will sup­ple­ment the two cur­rent daily flights be­tween the cities to meet grow­ing de­mand on the route, the air­line said yes­ter­day. Op­er­ated by a Boe­ing 777-300ER air­craft, flight EK 778 will de­part Dubai at 10.50am and ar­rive in Cape Town at 6.30pm. The re­turn flight, EK 779 will de­part Cape Town at 8.05pm and ar­rive in Dubai at 7.30am the fol­low­ing day. The cur­rent code­share co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Emi­rates and South African Air­ways on flights be­tween Dubai and South Africa will also be ex­tended to in­clude the ad­di­tional Cape Town flight. The added fre­quency will also pro­vide up to 23 tonnes of cargo ca­pac­ity on the air­craft per flight. Emi­rates first launched ser­vices to South Africa 20 years ago, and in ad­di­tion to Cape Town, the air­line also op­er­ates four daily flights be­tween Dubai and Jo­han­nes­burg, and a daily flight be­tween Dubai and Dur­ban.

DE­CI­SION: A ref­er­en­dum will be held on June 23 about leav­ing the EU. To reg­is­ter, visit FLY: An Emi­rates Boe­ing 777-300ER

IN: A Bri­tain Stronger In Europe sup­porter cam­paigns for the UK to stay in the EU

OUT: For­mer London Mayor Boris John­son wants to leave

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