Following the end of the fifth round of Brexit negotiations last week, the British Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley, released an update via the British Embassy in Madrid's social network pages.
In his statement, the ambassador said that on citizens' rights the UK government “thinks” it is “close to finding agreement” and reiterated the statement made in previous talks over the framework for granting EU citizens “settled status” in the UK. Mr Manley added that British qualifications would continue to be recognised in other EU countries and that EU citizens would, in principle, be allowed to continue to “vote in local and regional elections” in the UK. However, he said that whether UK citizens would have reciprocal voting rights as they do under EU laws, would be “an issue for individual member states”.
The fifth round of negotiations received criticism from anti-Brexit campaign groups and UK media, who believe that no progress has been made, leading to increased fears that UK prime minister Theresa May's statement that “no deal is better than a bad deal” is looking ever more realistic. Speaking on the UK's LBC radio last week May admitted that the government is working on a strategy in case there is no deal by 1 April 2019, which is when the UK is currently expected to officially leave the European Union.
Bremain in Spain's Sue Wilson said in a press release, “May admitted that she doesn't have a plan on citizens' rights if we crash out without a deal. Repeating 'we want you to stay' to EU citizens isn't reassuring, especially when she keeps raising a no deal scenario.”
Wednesday's announcement that the next hearing in the House of Commons of the Great Repeal Bill, which is designed to bring EU legislation into UK law and repeal the European Communities Act, has been delayed due to a high number of amendments added to widespread speculation on whether the negotiations are in crisis and on the likelihood of a 'no deal' scenario.