Brit expats in Spain castigate UK government for Brexit betrayal

Published:  21 Jan at 6 PM
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British expatriates in Spain are slamming UK lawmakers for betraying their trust and ignoring their needs.

At a recent meeting in Marbella organised by the campaign group Brexpats in Spain, furious expatriates castigated the British government, saying they felt betrayed and believe UK lawmakers are operating an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude to their right to stay in their chosen locations. Some 90 expatriates attended the meeting, with the crowd including pensioners, business owners, families with their children, experts and campaigners.

Miguel Diaz, a spokesperson for the Spanish political party Izquierda Unida, spoke up about his concern over the 4,000 registered Brits in Marbella as well as the 56,000 UK citizens living in and around the province of Malaga. His theme was the negative impact of Brexit, not only in favourite expat hubs but in the province as a whole. The UK’s abrupt departure from the EU, he said, will cause unemployment, serious social disruption and economic chaos throughout the region.

After the meeting, expat residents spoke with local reporters, with one recently arrived couple saying they feel betrayed and had left the UK because of Brexit. The wife, born in the UK to Indian parents, said that, following the referendum result, she’d been a victim of racial abuse for the first time in her life, with British people telling her to ‘get out and go back to her own country’. Complaints were also heard from UK expats who’d attempted to register their presence in the country as advised by the British consulate were unable to get appointments due to the rush of expats attempting to confirm their residency.

Founder of Brexpats in Spain Anne Fernandes told the media she now believes British expats are an afterthought for UK lawmakers, adding she’s written several times to Theresa May, but has not received any replies. One long-stay expat who runs a real estate agency is angry she wasn’t allowed a vote as she’d been in Spain for 29 years. Sharon Hitchcock is worried sick about her business, and told reporters ‘Someone else voted to change my identity – I never got to vote’ adding ‘That’s totally wrong’.

The entire voting issue is a cause for concern across the British expat community in Spain, as once the UK leaves the EU, they will have no right to vote anywhere, although they pay their taxes and work in Spain. Voting, they believe, is a basic human right which is being taken away from them without even one word from British lawmakers.
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