BREXIT expat campaigner says UK general election as ‘good as a second referendum’

John Moffett of Bremain in Spain has urged expats to use their power to influence the outcome of the EU divorce negotiations

LAST UPDATED: 26 Apr, 2017 @ 12:40
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parliamentA BREXIT expat campaigner has branded the UK’s upcoming general election as ‘good as a second referendum’.

John Moffett of Bremain in Spain insisted that expats had the power to influence the outcome of the EU divorce negotiations by backing pro EU candidates in the snap June 8 poll.

He said even those who have lived in Spain too long to have a vote could have an impact by urging friends and family back in the UK to vote for an MP in favour of ‘at least a softer Brexit or associate EU membership.’

“We need to focus on the positives-this is as good as we can get to a second referendum,” said Moffett, of La Herradura in Granada.gen-elec

“This is is an opportunity to change things for the better for Britain in terms of the Brexit deal it negotiates.

“By choosing MPs who are pro remain and pro EU and encouraging your friends and family in the UK to do the same we can give a very clear message to the Government.

“If we vote in lots of them, they could help influence leaders to head towards at least a softer Brexit or associate EU membership.

“I’m not suggesting it will mean the reversal of Brexit, although this was suggested as a possibility last week by EU Parliament president Antonio Tajani.

Bremain in Spain will not take an official line on who to back but of course our focus in the coming weeks will be on the general election.”

Moffett, resident of Spain for 11 years, expressed the group’s disappointment at the lack of votes for Brits who have lived overseas for over 15 years.

This is despite a Government commitment to reintroduce them in time for the next election.gen-elec2

“We are angry and frustrated that the Government has broken its manifesto promise,” he said.

Anne Hernandez, Brexpats in Spain co-founder who cannot vote, echoed his sentiment.

“The 700,000 of us in Europe who were denied votes in the 2015 election and EU referendum feel totally disenfranchised yet again.

“The main point of this election is going to be Brexit, which has a huge impact on us.

“All we can keep doing is lobbying for change.”

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45 COMMENTS

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  1. Why do people like John Moffett peddle such rubbish words like soft brexit and associate membership , these are weasel words the UK voted to leave and no deal is better than a bad deal which people like Moffett are campaigning against so get real John and smell the coffee!

    • What is your connection with Spain? If you live in Spain (an EU member state of course) and rely on reciprocal healthcare or you own a property for example, why does associate EU membership/citizenship worry you so much?

      If indeed you are a Brexiteer, then you should rejoice in the idea of Guy Verhofstadt’s proposed ‘Associate EU Citizenship’ scheme because it would signal a definite parting of the ways in what is now a deeply divided UK. Nobody is forcing you to take part in this proposed scheme, it will be voluntary so why on earth would you object to it?

    • Where do you actually live, H. Davies? Is it in Spain or the UK? If the former, did you vote to Leave, while simultaneously wishing to enjoy the benefits of a EU country? Please do elaborate.

    • What is rubbish about soft brexit. Hard brexit will ruin the UK economy for a good twenty years. If you want to leave with a hard brexit, I hope you are living in the UK. Good luck. You will need it in the coming years.

      • Where have you disappeared to, H Davies? Please show yourself and have the guts to respond. This election is totally about Brexit.

  2. I am unable to reply to H. Davies’ comment in any meaningful way, as it is simply a lot of cobbled-together meaningless clichès. However, I am glad that there are people like John Moffett and others who are campaigning on behalf of those of us who have not fallen for the lies that led the uneducated and ill-informed to vote for the destruction of Britain.

    • I would have thought that was blindingly obvious. British nationals are about to have part of their citizenship stripped away from them and in many cases (48%) it is against their will.

      At the very least, all British nationals should have been able to vote in the EU referendum last year and under the circumstances, they should certainly be able to vote at the next general election.

      The UK is not a dictatorship is it?

    • I think having paid UK taxes for 40+ years more than qualifies me, not to mention it’s my birth-right. It’s also the law of the country whose sovereignty Leavers all seem so keen on. Do you only pay attention to those laws you agree with, or only pay taxes for things you use? I know, lets all those people who don’t have kids stop paying taxes for education – let’s see how that works.

    • Because expats from all other countries can (ref recent French election for example) so britains should be allowed to as well. You don’t know people’s reasons for living abroad. Musician friends of ours couldn’t get work in a British orchestra so the got one in Spain. Would you rather they stayed in the U.K. And ‘sponged’ off the state. Don’t make I’ll informed comments.

    • To deny citizens a vote is a violation the UN Declaration of Human Rigts. The follow paragraph is ripped from the LSE blog

      Denial of expat rights

      The second group is the expats who have lived outside of the UK for 15 years or more. Some of them work abroad because that is what their employer requires of them. Others choose to live there for reasons of health or living standards, some retire there precisely because, embedded in EU legislation, there are reciprocal residency, education, land ownership and healthcare rights. The Conservative Party manifesto in 2015 recognised this 15-year limit to be an anomaly and they have begun to reverse the position enabling all expats to vote in a consultation document ironically entitled A democracy that works for everyone. But that is too late for the Brexit vote. Many countries impose no time limit. The USA, for example, gives the right to vote for life whilst still a US citizen.

    • Because as a British nationals the actions of the British state have a direct impact on our lives, therefore it is our democratic right to have our voices heard.

    • Because, Brendan Walsh, we are still British nationals, have been paying tax and NI in the uk for over 50 years and are still paying tax in the uk in addition to tax here in Spain. I think that gives us some rights to have a bit of a say, wouldn’t you agree?

      • Ironically, if you are outside arbitrary 15 years you don’t have a representative except at local level. But I am in full sympathy with the point of your question. Why should tax paying citizens be denied a vote on their future?

  3. There will be many worried Leavers that will throw terms like “will of the people” & “democracy” around & throw insults at anyone daring to speak, in their minds, out of turn. Anyone who has seen the latest poll from YouGov should be demanding that Brexit be stopped, as the majority now think that Brexit is a bad idea. As the effects are felt – inflation, job losses etc – even more will come to the same conclusion, that the “will of the people” is to stay in the EU.
    Now lets play Brexit bingo & see how many times in the following comments we hear those same stock phrases, with the odd “scaremongering”, “sovereignty” & “you lost, get over it” thrown in. Name calling & quotes from the Mail or Express do not qualify as reasoned argument.

  4. Those of you that are commenting negatively on this article and actually live here are going to get the shock of your lives post Brexit if negotiations do not go well. I hope you are all wealthy and in employment or if not you can afford private medical insurance as well as rises on your taxes/income/property as you will be a non EU national and different tax rates will apply. For the sensible amongst you that do not live in the past and do not believe the Empire still exits, this election is a chance to fight Brexit and get the Tories out by voting for pro EU candidates. It’s thanks to those of us that are trying to fight Brexit who are combating the uneducated and ill-informed, especially Brits in Spain that voted to leave the EU. Turkeys voting for Xmas basically. But it’s not too late if you are beginning to realise leaving the EU will be a disaster. Get registered and get your vote in! And John Moffet and co – keep up the good work.

  5. It might be a tad too soon to give up hope for a second referendum, but there’s certainly good sense in treating this general election as one since May has said that she’ll interpret every vote for a Conservative candidate as part of a mandate to get whatever deal suits her.

  6. No deal is the worst outcome possible as it would mean all 3 million EU citizens in the UK and the million or so of UK citizens in Europe would become illegal immigrants overnight hoping desperately for new arrangements to beade by the individual governments but with no say or lobbying power to influence the decisions. In Ireland and Gibraltar it would mean the return of hard borders with long queues for customs checks.

  7. I’m very glad that I live in a country where people like John Moffett can freely voice his opinion. Nobody is obliged to do what he says, or even read this article.

    To be honest I am fed up with Brexiters moaning. If they don’t like our freedoms they should move somewhere more to their liking. Russia perhaps?

  8. What coffee would that be H. Davies, as it will have to be imported from somewhere and have huge tariffs applied to it. Maybe it will be Arabica coffee soon enough, with a hard Brexit and all. Why do leavers peddle boring old clichéd rhetoric with nothing of substance to back it up, except more boring clichéd rhetoric. Is there a leavers handbook I could get to read? Maybe it’s a Strong and Stable book?

  9. Come on H. Davies, stop throwing around weasel words like “the UK voted to leave” and “no deal is better than a bad deal”. I think most intelligent people realise that more than half the UK did not vote to leave, and even the Tories are now back tracking from the “no deal is better….” myth!

  10. Spot on post Sue, but to add to your list of clapped out Daily Mail/Express cliches, ‘suck it up’, ‘Remoaners’ and ”taking back control’.

  11. I have lived in Spain for 23 years now so can no longer vote. However, I have paid UK taxes since I first started to work at the age of 16 and continue to do so today and will do for the rest of my life ! In the circumstances I believe I should continue to have the right to have a say in matters that affect me and the running of my country of origin in general.
    P.S. During my time living out here I always used my vote whilst I had the right to do so !

  12. H. DAVIES

    Another breathtaking comment from someone who has got their head in the sand. Ok I get it you couldn’t give a stuff about expats. So how about thinking about you and yours. Keep fooling yourself about Brexit. But read up on the facts. Inflation rising, prices going up. Job losses. Will be exposing UK to more terror risks. Wil be taking away some fundamental human rights. Will close down opportunities abroad for thousands of young people. Will mean hardly any doctors and nurses to care for you when in desperate need. Will mean elderly people at greater risk through lack of social care. Will encourage even more racism and division.Will ensure Great Britain becomes Little Britain. But sure yes keep convincing yourself that Brexit is a good thing!

  13. Very important to have a voice and to be able to talk to our UK based families an friends so they understand all the angles and problems and how important it is to be an informed citizen.

  14. There are multiple reason for people to live abroad, not always permanently, and many mixed families who are now in very deep trouble , especially young people both in the UK and the EU who won’t be able to chose to work or study in different countries which is an incredible rich experience. John Moffet is doing a great job on behalf of many different people with a diversity of problems and giving his time for it.

  15. Don´t know or care what Mr Cliché-Merchant Davies thinks of me. I left Britain 40 years ago and have no intention of ever returning. I have a small pension from Northern Ireland but am now looking for work again as Brexit and the fall of the pound have made it difficult to manage already. I am not impressed with people whose “arguments” involve daft phrases, none of which have any real value. For example, “taking back control” – the only people who ever had control in Britain are the excessively privileged and they never lost it. Or how about “strong and stable government” – what does that mean? Stalin, Saddam Hussein and Robert Mugabe all gave strong and stable government so which model do you fancy? I never identified with Britain and now it is more embarrassing than ever want nothing more to do with it. While you can´t change your place of birth, you can change your nationality and I will as soon as possible. Brexit is not my fault; I would have voted to remain if I had the chance but I am one of those denied the vote. I support the campaign for British citizens everywhere to have the vote but don’t want it myself. Keep your cold damp miserable island full of racists and banal clichés.

  16. Spot on Sue, and John too, unfortunately whenever we have articles like this, it’s inundated with Brexit trolls.
    As to what Brendan says, it is our right to have a say, we are affected by what happens in the UK, also many of us contributed all our lives to the UK economy.
    As for H. Davies I have to ask where do you live? I for one am furious at your comments, you obviously have no idea how a hard Brexit will effect us and the UK!

  17. I can not understand the mentality of people who do not live in the UK and enjoy a life in another country trying to effect the outcome of the people who do live in the UK. Want your cake and eat it comes to mind.

  18. Unfortunately, the OP attracts Daily Mail/Express reading Brexiteers in the UK who pretend to have connections with Spain and they don’t usually get much opposition on here. It is a welcome change to finally get some good quality posts from people who do actually live/have a connection with Spain and have something sensible and meaningful to say.

  19. I would just like to thank H. Davies for your ‘insightful’ comments. I think you have done us all a favour and a great job of showing the ignorance that surrounds those who really have no knowledge or experience, yet feel in some way qualified to pass judgement without having anything meaningful to say. You have successful endorsed the Pro-Eu movement for even more people.
    Perhaps if you has some sort of expertise you would like to share about your own sense of realism and can educate us in some way? No deal! Hmmm…you do understand the implications of that? Perhaps you believe that the UK can be totally self sufficient?…or perhaps you would prefer to live in ‘Trumpton’ and let them provide all the health services?…or maybe you think if we leave Europe the British Empire rise from the waves and control the world? The mind boggles……
    Until you you can anything constructive to say, I can only see that you are are nasty little troll, but heyo you’ve very successfully painted that picture for all to see …so thanks for that!
    PS The coffee you like to smell may cost a lot more than you think…very soon!

  20. John is doing a fantastic job and helping those like myself who are denied a vote. I can’t speak more highly of those who are trying to help others. Keep up the good work!

  21. It amazes me that someone who obviously has no connection to Spain takes time to comment on an article on a website for expats. Have they so little going on in their lives that this is all they have to do?
    Bremain in Spain has and is doing a fantastic job supporting expats in Spain who are going through a difficult time because of brexit. Bremain in Spain is fighting for our rights. One of those rights is a right to vote. Other countries give their citizens votes for life. Why should UK citizens be any different.

    A good article John. Totally agree.

  22. No representation without taxation. We’ve all paid decades of taxes/social security (NI contributions) to U.K. Many of us continue to do so. So no representation? Welcome healthy debate but to throw comments into the pot & then scuttle off & not respond is just cowardly, immature & ignorant. Brilliant comments here. It’s like playing “knock down ginger” with our present & future security & well being.

    Can any Leaver counteract the replies here? Explain why remainers are wrong? Would welcome an enlightened, intelligent & informed view point from the other side (from a leave point of view). However. Really impressed by the comments here for the argument to remain as no obvious opposition to convince me otherwise. Keep up the good work you all!

    • Debra. Don’t really wish to get deeply involved but was there a referendum to join the the Common Market which was classed as a treasonable act which Ted Heath was actually warned about it under English law but nobody acted against it. (the elite kept mum). Could you also give an example of the percentages regarding a referendum in joining the Treaty of Lisbon which Gordon Brown signed. Just a couple of points to ponder on regarding referendums, so basically if referendums were called at the time perhaps we would not be debating the European Union but still carrying on trading with various countries like we had done for hundreds of years.

  23. I welcome healthy debate but just to throw a comment into the pot & not defend/argue the point & scuttle off is cowardly, immature & displays an uninformed critique. Overwhelmingly, the comments here are asking for a response & there isn’t one. It’s like playing “knock down ginger” but with our current well being & our futures.

    Can a Leaver enlighten me? I’m open to talk about why my stance & fundamental belief as a remainer is wrong. Help me see another, informed, reassuring & good viewpoint. I’m educated enough to be open to discussion. Bring it on. Pretty please?

  24. The only thing as good as a 2nd EU referendum IS a 2nd EU referendum! But Madam May won’t give us one because thd Brexit SHE has created is not what anyone voted for on 23 June. It’s a cunning earner for her and her millionaire pals in the upper eschalons of the Tory Party, at great expense to the ordinary Brit in the street who is going to be several thousands of pounds out of pocket each year and lose several EU rights that protect his/her employment and free speech. The General Election is a smokescreen because several Tory MPs are about to be prosecuted for fraud in the 2015 election, the Tories would suddenly have been without a majority, and the Queen would have had to ask the Leader of the Opposition to form a new Government!

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