A patriotic South Tyneside dad has been poll-axed - after being left with two countries and no place to vote.
Angry Paul Simpson, who was born in South Shields but has spent much of his life working in Australia, feels ‘oz-tracised’ after missing out on a chance to cast his vote in the upcoming EU referendum.
The 57-year-old, who moved down under with his family at the age of 12, says he was told he couldn’t take part in the June 23 poll during a recent visit to South Tyneside Council.
Mr Simpson, who has owned a home in Bamburgh Grove, South Shields, for the past four years, is planning on moving back to the borough full-time when he retires.
He currently spends at least nine-weeks a year in the UK, but also can’t vote in Australian elections under the conditions of his five-year working Visa.
The dad-of-one, who is married to Pamela, says he feels ‘sickened’ that he won’t be able to help shape Britain’s future when they nation decides whether to stay part of the European Union.
I am sickened by this - I’m patriotic as they come.Paul Simpson
Mr Simpson, who runs a caravan repair business in Australia, said: “I was born in Dean Road, South Shields and went to school in South Shields.
“I moved with my family to Australia at about 12 or 13 but I never emigrated there.
“I only have one passport - and it is British.
“I am sickened by this.
“I am as patriotic as they come.
“I have an English sports car and am sitting in an English restaurant at the moment, eating English food.
“I work in Australia but Britain is my home.
“I have a house here and will be moving back full-time when I retire.
“My wife’s father fought in World War Two and our grandparents both served their country.
“What was that for?
“This feels like a slap in the face.”
Mr Simpson says he has not previously voted in General Elections but felt compelled to take part in a crucial moment in Britain’s political history.
Wife Pamelas, originally from Liverpool, has also missed out on the chance to vote.
He added; “I think everyone who is British should be voting and having a say.”
A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said that UK citizens living or working abroad are still eligible to vote in UK and European elections - including the EU referendum - but must have been registered to vote in the last fifteen years.