British expats in Spain say NO to Brexit

Published:  14 Sep at 6 PM
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British expats in Spain are still reeling from the shock of the Brexit result, plus the fact they’ve been left in limbo ever since.

The strength of feeling and resentment against the chaos resulting from the referendum result is ramping up in Spain’s expat communities as time passes and no reassurances as to their status are being given. The fall in the value of sterling caused by the Leave vote plus the almost total stagnation of the Spanish property market are forcing the British expat community to simply sit and wait for vaguely meaningful responses from the British Embassy and its consulates.

Expat residents have attempted to get sensible replies via emails to their UK MPs and received nothing but the standard ‘Brexit means Brexit’ response. During the lead-up to the vote, the same expats were told by the British government the referendum was only ‘advisory’ and, should the impossible happen, nothing would be decided until Parliament had fully debated the result. No responsible government, they were told, would allow the country to implode.

All that’s left to British retirees, business owners, property owners and families is their anger at allowing themselves to be deceived in much the same way as the British public was deceived, especially with the ‘£350 million a week for the NHS’ slogan of the Leave campaign. Some communities within smaller Spanish villages have representatives in touch with local town halls, but confusion reigns supreme at both levels.

A recent visit to one district by the British Vice-Consul in Alicante was met with hopes of clarification on questions desperately needing answers in order that British residents could begin to plan their post-Brexit lives. The local expat representative met with the official, hoping to get replies to 11 crucial questions involving the right to remain, the right to work, voting rights, passports, heathcare, pensions, benefits and much more.

Unfortunately, the vice-consul was unable to answer even one of the questions, and presumably was also unable to tell the representative exactly why she’d bothered to make the trip. The British government, she said, were standing by the referendum result, adding she was not in a position to offer an opinion on the exact meaning of that statement.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, one of Britain’s most respected elder statesmen, Kenneth Clarke, called for MPs to totally ignore the Brexit result, calling it ridiculous and not legally binding. With the number of legal challenges attempting to force the Prime Minister to open a parliamentary debate on the result, it’s anyone’s guess as to what happens next.
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