Which party offers the best deal for UK expats on June 8

Published:  29 May at 6 PM
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It’s essential that British expat voters living in Spain have the clear-cut information they need before deciding which candidate to vote for in the upcoming general election.
he shock election taking place on 8 June is being promoted by pro-European expats as being a second chance to make their views known on Brexit and its effect on their chosen lifestyles. However, it’s essential that British expat voters in Spain know exactly what each political party is offering. Their futures in the country of their choice are totally dependent on the agreements reached after Brexit talks conclude.

As everyone involved now knows, the main issues are free movement, healthcare rights, pensions and, most importantly, the possibility of a second referendum on the deals done during the negotiations. Set out in black and white, none of the choices seem to mention the fact that the Brexit referendum was fronted as ‘advisory and non-binding’, thus making the ‘second referendum’ the focus for expats.

In fact, the Green Party and Liberal Democrats’ manifestos are the only two in favour of a second referendum after Brexit talks are concluded. Both commit to a referendum giving voters the final choice of whether to accept the offered deal or stay within the EU. The referendum would take place following publication of the terms agreed by both parties.
The Labour Party has accepted the June referendum’s result without including a second referendum, and the Tory manifesto simply reiterates its commitment to Brexit.

The three major parties are in favour of ending the right to freedom of movement once Brexit is finalised, with the Tories also pushing Britain’s leaving the single market whilst wanting continuing free trade with Europe. Labour is arguing Britain would still have the right to restriction-free trade in spite of EU laws stating freedom of movement is inextricably linked with access to the single market, and is also promising to protect EU expat workers in the UK in the hopes the same will apply to Brit expats in Europe.

LibDems would seem to have hit on a sensible idea in that freedom of movement would be allowed in order to stay within the single market, and are also backing a simplified process for EU citizens wishing to become permanent UK residents. In addition, the LibDems would hope to secure the same rights for UK expats in EU member states.

Healthcare rights for EU migrants is a plank of Labour’s manifesto, with the LibDems offering reciprocal rights as well as retention of the EU health card. Labour, the LibDems and some Tory backbenchers are promoting the ending of frozen pensions, including those of UK expats in EU countries post Brexit. Votes for life are being promoted by the LibDems. The Labour Party, however, has made no statement on the ‘votes’ issue.

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