Residents at the meeting organised by the consulate, town hall and Brexpats in Marbella last week.
Brits in Spain more concerned about future after the rejection of Brexit deal prolongs uncertainty

Brits in Spain more concerned about future after the rejection of Brexit deal prolongs uncertainty

While many have expressed frustration over the protracted negotiations, some see this as a chance to try to stop Brexit altogether

Jennie Rhodes

Friday, 18 January 2019, 10:02


The latest events in what some are branding the "Brexit pantomime" have done nothing to ease the concerns of the 40,000-plus Brits living on the Costa del Sol.

Tuesday's historic vote in the UK's House of Commons, which saw Theresa May's Brexit deal rejected by a majority of 230 votes, was followed the next day by a narrow victory for her government in a vote of no confidence tabled by Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

The 19-vote difference means that Theresa May's Conservative party was given a mandate by Parliament to continue to negotiate some sort of withdrawal deal.

There has been mixed reaction from groups representing Brits in Malaga province and throughout the Spain.

Speaking to SUR on Wednesday, Anne Hernández, spokesperson for Mijas-based Brexpats in Spain, said this week's events have been, "more senselessness." She added that from the beginning the aim of her group, which represents both 'Remainers' and 'Leavers', has been to ensure that "the UK doesn't leave without any kind of deal" meaning that the rights of Britons living in the EU are protected. The rejection of May's deal means that the "anguish" felt by Britons is being extended and that people she talks to are "more worried than ever".

For Sue Wilson, chair of anti-Brexit group, Bremain in Spain, the collapse of the Withdrawal Deal was as welcome as it was expected. She told SUR in English, "I have found myself in the strange position this week of wanting Theresa May to lose one vote on Tuesday and win another on Wednesday, both of which duly happened."

Her group, along with other pan-European, anti-Brexit organisations, have been campaigning for a People's Vote on the final deal, and Wilson added, "The failure of Jeremy Corbyn to secure a vote of no confidence was a significant step forward in our goal of stopping Brexit. Now we can concentrate our efforts on the next steps which are to remove a 'no-deal' scenario [...], to secure an extension to Article 50 and to campaign for a People's Vote referendum, hopefully with the support of the Labour party."

With municipal elections due to take place across Spain in May, Roy Pérez, Foreigners' Councillor at Mijas Town Hall told SUR yesterday that one of the many concerns of the town's British residents is the ability to vote. "Many of our residents were not able to vote in the referendum and now they are worried about being left in legal limbo. They are concerned about what's going to happen to them from issues such as healthcare to their right to participate in the local elections."

Allaying at least these concerns, the new 'Prepared for Brexit' website launched by the Spanish government on Monday, said that an upcoming agreement between Spain and the UK will allow both UK citizens who are on the electoral register in Spain and Spanish citizens registered in the UK to vote in local elections regardless of the outcome of Brexit.

Theresa May now has until Monday to come up with a new plan for EU withdrawal, which has been dubbed 'Brexit Plan B', with a debate in the House of Commons likely on Tuesday 29 January. She called for "constructive" cross-party talks after her narrow win in the vote of no confidence on Wednesday. Jeremy Corbyn said on Thursday that if the country is "facing the potential disaster of no deal, our duty will then be to look at other options[...]including the option of a public vote."

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