A BRITISH expat delegation is taking its Brexit battle to the heart of Westminster.

The five-strong group will give evidence before the Exiting EU Committee, chaired by Labour MP Hilary Benn, on January 18.

FIGHTBACK: Expats to appear before Brexit committee
FIGHTBACK: Expats to appear before Brexit committee

Madrid-based Guardian journalist Giles Tremlett could be the group’s representative from Spain.

Tremlett, author of the book Ghosts Of Spain told the Olive Press he believed current EU and British expats should retain their existing rights.

“We need the people who are discussing this in Westminster to start thinking about the one million Brits who are most affected by Brexit,” said Tremlett.

“The main fear is that the whole process will take so long that we will all live in a state of limbo for two, three, four, five years.

“We would be unable to make decisions about such basic things as where to live, how to organise one’s life etc when you don’t know what your rights are going to be.”

He added: “I don’t think the people who are in place – the three million Europeans in Britain and the million Brits in the EU – should be treated as if they are ‘new’ under the Brexit proposals.

“The three million should hold onto their rights in the UK and the one million should hold on to our rights in Europe.

“We are just being used as a bargaining tool. If that is going to be the approach the three million and the million must stand together.”

Tremett said the group hopes to form a European umbrella coalition to fight for British expats’ rights in the coming months and years.

Last year Tremlett and fellow British expat journalist William Chislett started a petition calling for joint citizenship for Brits who had lived in Spain for over 10 years.

“The idea is to take it to the 17 regional parliaments this year,” he said.

“We’ve had reasonably good feedback from Spanish politicians. We know there are a lot of people who want it.”


  1. ‘Associate EU Citizenship’ would be a very good option for those in the UK who voted to Remain in the EU and people who have lived in EU member states for more than 15 years who were not eligible to vote. This would give them the same status they have now and would be the best possible outcome. I understand that people who are currently resident in EU member states want to preserve their existing rights but we need something that will also work in the future once the UK pulls up the drawbridge and says “adios”. I hope this scheme will be discussed at the meeting and get some traction.

    • You are dreaming Jane. THe UK is leaving through EU with a complete and full exit, there can’t be any half measures because the Germans will not allow it. Judging by Mrs May’s statements recently, Britain will wash it’s hands of anything to do with the EU.

      • I suggest you Google ‘associate EU citizenship’. Guy Verhofstadt mooted the idea for the 48% who voted to Remain in the EU and the type of Brexit is irrelevant to this proposed scheme . If you voted Leave or do not wish to join you do not have to.

      • It’s the other way round Pete. It’s the EU that will be doing the hand-washing. The Maybot can only blunder onwards, driven by stupidity and Cameron’s cowardice.
        Unfortunately Jane, this idea sounds like it will only favour a fortunate few, the existing immigrants. What about those who want to join them? Or those who don’t fit the parameters stated? Can’t imagine the Westminster dogs-in-the-manger being bothered by the plight of their marooned fellow countrymen/women.
        But, go for it Giles. Your “Ghosts of Spain” demonstrate your undoubted intelligence and (rueful) love of all things Spanish.

        • Stefanjo, this proposed scheme is aimed at the 48% of Brits who voted to Remain in the EU and is not just for those already resident in EU member states. It is still very much in the development stages but the idea is to give people who decide to opt for it similar rights to the ones they current enjoy like freedom of movement. It has the backing of Guy Verhofstadt who has fast tracked it and wants to help the 48% which is more than can be said for our clueless Prime Minister. I have written to my MP who voted to Remain and will be writing to my MEP. I have also signed various petitions.

          There is no reason why this cannot be made to work but the finer details will have to be part of the Brexit negotiations.

    • I didn’t vote for Mrs May but she is going to be making decisions that will affect me and millions of others who voted to remain. As spineless MP’s are not prepared to speak for the 48% I’m glad that someone is prepared to put their head above the parapet. May is a Prime Minister by her own admission without a mandate (in an interview shortly after becoming PM she stated that Camerons manifesto no longer applied) she contradicted herself a few days later which has been her track record since, saying something on a Monday and retracting it on Tuesday. She should have called a general election and laid out the type of Brexit she would be seeking. I’m sure she would have won and had her hand strengthened in the forthcoming negotiations. Why didn’t she, because she is clueless on the matter and is more concerned with votes than what is best for the country (the whole country).

  2. What are you panicking about Craig? What possible objection could you have if any individual desires to go for an EU passport? Are you aware of the number of British people applying for Irish passports, using their Irish ancestry as is their right? Twin nationality is not so rare.
    Forty eight percent of the electorate wanted to retain their EU status. Not to mention the millions who didn’t vote either way.
    We essentially have 17 million people dictating “out” to 43 million others. No wonder you feel on shaky ground.

  3. A British expat delegation is taking its Brexit battle to the heart of Westminster. Waste of time. Do you not thing they should be taking their battle to the Spanish Parliament or even to Brussels. Understand T.May wished to discuss this problem prior to A50 regarding the concerns of all expats in Europe and the UK but the response has been “No discussions of any kind prior to A50 activated”.
    The British government can’t do anything about it until A50 is activated and discussion begin, at least they tried.

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