People who are:
over 18 years of age
hold UK passports with the right of abode in the UK
old enough to serve in or have served in the UK’s armed forces
are directly affected by decisions made the the UK Parliament & Government
almost all of them
pay tax in the UK
are reliant on the UK for part or all of their pensions
have strong family connections in the UK
They would all be able to vote under the UK’s General Election franchise except for one arbitrary unprincipled rule:
They have lived outside of the UK for more than 15 years.
We know that this is an arbitrary rule because since the first limited enfranchisement of these UK citizens in 1985 the UK Parliament has arbitrarily increased and decreased the rule on two occasions.
Denying the right to vote to these UK citizens is plainly not a matter of principle otherwise the right would never have been given in the first place and you can’t have degrees of principle.
For those living elsewhere in the EU their right to do so derives from the fact that they are citizens of an EU member state, the UK. If the UK withdraws from the EU their only right of abode could be the right of abode in the UK.
The Government has made a commitment to remove this restriction but has not proposed removing it for this referendum which affects these people at least as much and quite possibly more than any other single group.
Even more surprisingly given the talk about U-turns, failure to hold to commitments, none of the opposition parties or politicians have included the removal of the 15 year limit as part of their argument for extending the Referendum Bill franchise.