Costa warns Johnson over expat lawsuits for loss of rights damages

Published:  30 Jul at 6 PM
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For those who thought the recent report on UK expats’ rights to sue the British government was fake news, perhaps it’s time to think again.

A British MP has issued a warning to Boris Johnson that UK expats in Europe will be legally entitled to sue the British government should they lose their rights to live and work in Europe due to a no-deal Brexit. Senior Tory back-bencher and former government legal advisor Alberto Costa issued his warning to Johnson via a letter, having resigned from a government position earlier this year over the issue of expat rights retention. He’s now leading a cross-party group within the British parliament, and is campaigning in Westminster on behalf of UK expats’ rights within Europe.

At present, should Johnson get his way and the UK leaves the EU via a no-deal exit, the rights of British expats will be balanced on a knife edge even although Johnson has agreed to safeguard EU expats’ rights within the UK. Chief EU negotiator Michel Barnier has refused to give the same terms to British expats in EU member states and the UK has no protective power over the rights of UK expatriates. In a recent meeting in Brussels, Barnier told it like it is, saying the only way to protect British citizens in Europe is to accept the already offered withdrawal agreement.

Some 1.3 million UK expats are living within the European Union, with the majority in Spain, France and the Republic of Ireland. According to Costa, no peacetime British government has had the nerve to abrogate in short order the rights held by over a million British citizens, adding a no deal exit could also threaten expat pensions, healthcare and long-term residency. Should the worst scenario happen, a massive number of class actions could be filed by expats deprived of their livelihoods, businesses and quality of life, with damages awarded running into billions of pounds.
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