Frustration felt by Brits in Spain as Brexit date remains unclear

A protester outside the Houses of Parliament on Thursday.
A protester outside the Houses of Parliament on Thursday. / REUTERS
  • As MPs vote to ask for an extension to article 50, business, political, legal and volunteer representatives tell SUR in English about how UK indecisiveness is affecting lives here

It's been yet another week of uncertainty and more important votes. Thursday evening's vote to ask the EU to extend Article 50 to delay Brexit still lives residents unclear as to when, how and if the UK will leave the EU.

The extension vote followed two other chaotic evenings in the House of Commons: the second meaningful vote Theresa May's deal was rejected again on Monday; then came the vote to rule out a no-deal on Wednesday, the result of which was surprising for many.

The general feeling among British people in Malaga is that of relief that the UK and Spain have already set in place bilateral agreements, which will safeguard Britons' rights here regardless of the outcome of Brexit. However, there is still a great deal of concern and frustration over how the UK government is dealing with Brexit and the ongoing feeling of uncertainty for Brits living abroad.

Steve Marshall, Secretary of Fuengirola and Mijas Age Concern told SUR in English on Thursday that the people he works with, "feel Spain is more interested in looking after us than British politicians". He said that while there is a "sense of relief" thanks to the royal decree ensuring Britons' rights here, people are "still on tenterhooks" about what the final outcome will be.

Alex Radford, solicitor and abogado with MylawyerinSpain, said that while Brits are continuing to buy property and do business in Malaga, despite the uncertainties, there is "frustration over the lack of clarity and clear timescales". He added that he believes the "fantastic relationship between the two countries" would pave the way to further agreements even if an EU-wide agreement fails to do so.

Sue Wilson, chair of Bremain in Spain, an anti-Brexit organisatoin, welcomes the results of this week's votes. "Parliament are finally starting to flex their muscles," she told SUR in English on Thursday.

Manilva councillor, Dean Tyler Shelton also used the word "frustration" to describe the "indecisiveness" of the UK government and that business and trade are "more important than people". He added that at this stage a decision needs to be made either way so that people can get on with their lives.