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Hugh Elliott (left) with local political and community leaders on Wednesday.
Hugh Elliott: "If you are British and living in Spain, make sure you are registered as resident"

Hugh Elliott: "If you are British and living in Spain, make sure you are registered as resident"

Dozens of people attended the 5th Manilva Brexit Seminar as a panel of experts, including the new ambassador, addressed the concerns of British residents

Ash Bolton

Friday, 22 November 2019, 11:26

Opciones para compartir

Britain's new ambassador to Spain, Hugh Elliott spoke to expats in Manilva on Wednesday evening about Brexit worries. A panel of experts was also on hand to discuss issues affecting Britons, such as pensions, residency and healthcare.

BREXIT INFORMATION

  • Nerja meeting. A British consulate pop-up event will be held at Nerja town hall on Wednesday 27 November from 10.30am to 12.30pm. A member of the consular team will be on hand to answer questions.

  • UK government website.

  • www.gov.uk/living-in-spain

Some 60 people attended the seminar that was organised by Manilva council. The ambassador's visit was part of a whistle-stop tour of the Costa del Sol, after travelling down from Madrid that morning.

Speaking to SUR in English at the event, Hugh Elliott, who has been in his role for three months, said that despite a change of prime minister in the United Kingdom, a new government and a new Brexit deal, the protection of citizens' rights had not changed.

He explained: "Citizens' rights, which is a key issue of that withdrawal agreement, are not changed. So citizens' rights are fully protected. There is a transition period until the end of 2020 under that withdrawal agreement.

"On those fundamental things that are of most interest to people here, things have not changed."

Asked what the most important advice people should take away from the seminar was, Hugh added: "One, if you are British and living in Spain, make sure that you are registered as resident in Spain, [the green card or A4 paper from National Police stations]. It's a very key thing to do. Many people have done that, but by no means everybody.

"The second thing is to sign up to our online Living In Spain guide. That will keep you up to date with the very latest information that we have got as things develop."

After the panel had finished speaking, questions were taken from the audience. An issue that cropped up was how Britons living abroad for more than 15 years still can't vote in the United Kingdom.

Helen Woodrow, 68, from England, who has lived in Manilva for 15 years, made a plea to the ambassador to talk to MPs in the UK about abolishing the 15-year voting rule.

Addressing fellow Brits, she said: "What you need to do, even if you have been here for a number of years, is contact the MP where you were last registered to vote and ask them if they can support a government bill to get us the vote. Nobody knows what's going to happen in the election. We might be in the realms of another referendum, in which case we need a voice."

Hugh Elliott responded: "It is something that we regularly report back as a major concern. I'll continue to do that." The ambassador added that for those who were still eligible to vote, there was time to register online, as the deadline is 26 November.

Also speaking at the event was the mayor of Manilva, Mario Jiménez, the mayor of Casares, Pepe Carrasco, Carlos Jordan from San Roque council, host Dean Tyler Shelton, Derek Langley from the British Chamber of Commerce in Spain, Alex Radford from My Lawyer in Spain, Joni Burnett of the Colegio de Administradores de Fincas de Malaga and Maryna Sergiyivna Yatsenyuk from Hola Bank.

Earlier on Wednesday Elliott and the British Consul, Charmaine Arbouin, attended an informal lunch in La Cala de Mijas. There he had the chance to meet representatives of a cross-section of British associations and charities on the Costa.

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