THE OLIVE PRESS spoke to Stuart Hudd, the man who started the parliamentary petition to reverse Spain’s decision to end an extension period on negotiations on UK driving licences.
The UK and Spanish governments are in a stalemate on an agreement to allow Brits to swap their UK licences after six months of residency, with an extension period to the negotiations ending on May 1.
The Olive Press is running a campaign to grant Brits the ability to once again swap their licences for Spanish ones, and is urging its readers to sign his petition, which has so far gathered almost 4,000 signatures.
Should it reach 10,000, the government would be forced to issue an official response to the petition.
Hudd moved to Spain in September 2020, buying a house just before the end of transition period on December 31 2020.
Upon arrival, Hudd and his wife obtained their TIE (foreign residency) via a gestor.
He asked the same gestor about swapping his licence over but was told there was no need.
“I was told don’t worry, there will be an agreement,” he said.
The bunkem advice mirrors many testimonies the Olive Press has heard throughout this debacle.
Sure enough, an agreement was never struck and Hudd, like thousands of other Brits, is now banned from the roads.
“We are isolated living at the back of our campo and are relying on friends and neighbours to take us shopping and to medical appointments,” he said.
He has been lobbying as much as he can.
The Department for Transport told him: “Please be assured that Department for Transport and Foreign Office officials are continuing their work to secure a deal in Spain.”
He has also had correspondence with Baroness Vere of Norbiton, a House of Lords peer, who contacted Tory MP Kate Griffiths, Hudd’s local MP.
In response, Griffiths said: “I appreciate the concern that uncertainty in this matter is causing to UK licence holders living in, or moving to, Spain. Officials from the Department for Transport and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office continue to negotiate licence exchange arrangements as a matter of priority.”
Hudd is reluctant to give out any more personal information, as he is worried that the Spanish government might revoke his residency.
This in itself speaks to the perception many Brits now have that the Spanish government considers them at best an inconvenience, and at worse an enemy.
“Maybe if there is no light at the end of the tunnel I will move over to Portugal.”
Echoing the views of tech guru Paul Roberts, Hudd says it’s time to play hardball.
“Why doesn’t the British government revoke all Spanish driving licences in the UK and make the Spanish residents take a full practical test in English. All us expats want is a reciprocal deal. At the moment our lives are on hold,” he said.
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