A British court has ruled that Britons who have lived abroad for more than 15 years do not have the right to vote in the June 23 referendum on Britain's continued membership in the European Union.

The legal challenge had been brought by 94-year-old World War II veteran Harry Shindler, who lives in Italy, and Brussels-based lawyer Jacquelyn MacLennan.

They argued that a law preventing people from voting in British polls after more than 15 years abroad restricted their right to freedom of movement under EU law.

The British High Court ruled against them Thursday.

The referendum vote on whether Britain should remain part of the 28-nation bloc is expected to be close.