Updated 31 October: The UK’s Ambassador to Spain Hugh Elliott has written the following open letter to British citizens living in Spain.

You will all have seen that the EU has agreed the UK’s request for a further extension. This means that the UK will not now be leaving the EU on the 31st of October. The extension sets a new deadline of the 31st of January 2020.

I met with some of the citizens’ rights groups yesterday here in Madrid and we talked about recent developments, about the continuing feeling of uncertainty and about the concerns of British nationals living in Spain.

The three month extension removes the immediate threat of no deal and provides an opportunity for the deal – which protects citizens’ rights – to be ratified.

For as long as we remain in the EU, UK nationals will retain their full EU citizenship rights. So if you are a UK national living in Spain now, nothing will change on the 31st of October. The current rules on registration, healthcare and travelling will remain exactly as they are now.

However it is still important to be prepared for Brexit. The extension period is a good opportunity to make sure you, your friends and family are fully prepared.

So I would encourage you all to use this time to ensure you are correctly registered as resident in Spain and registered for healthcare. And to ensure that you have exchanged your driving licence and checked your passport validity.

Secondly, I’m sure you have seen in the media that a general election will be held on the 12th of December. If you are a UK National who has been here for less than 15 years you can register as an overseas voter (further information can be found at gov.uk/voting-when-abroad). The deadline to receive proxy vote applications will be the 4th of December.

The Embassy and our network of Consulates will keep you updated on further developments. We will continue holding outreach events – meetings, pop-up events in your local supermarket and the like; details are on our Living in Guide and on Facebook. Please do make sure you are signed up for the Living in Guide on gov.uk and stay in touch through our Brits in Spain Facebook page.

Updated 30 October:  There will after all be a General Election on Thursday 12 December. Even Christmas is now not immune from Brexit, with candidates fully expecting to have doors shut in their face by voters planning Christmas and not wanting to think any more about the political morass in which the UK finds itself. Those candidates will be missing at least 50 current MPs – including Ken Clarke, Amber Rudd, Rory Stewart, Kate Hoey, Heidi Allen, Cabinet minister Nicky Morgan, and the PM’s own brother Jo Johnson – some of whom have said that they are standing down because Brexit has broken politics to such an extent that they can no longer bear the nastiness, bullying, and poisonous atmosphere either in the House of Commons or the country at large.

Now there will be a campaign through the approaching winter with major voices already redefining political partisanship as Brexit tribalism. Nicola Sturgeon this morning has called for voters to think of their Brexit stance and, if they oppose leaving the EU, to vote tactically for the SNP because that Party is the main opposition in Scotland. There are other voices, as happened in Brecon with Plaid Cymru and the Green Party, calling for the same thing: if you want to Remain, forget your traditional Party and look at what candidate might successfully challenge the Leave opposition in any given constituency, they say. THIS site may be helpful for those who would like to vote tactically – they can establish who best to vote for in their own constituency to achieve the result they would like.

Meanwhile, Leave supporters will hope that Johnson can maintain the “Boris Bounce”, and that he won’t have torpedoed his chances by abandoning all his Brexit bravado, his scattered promises littering the path to this election because he was unable to find the ditch in which he had sworn to die. Whether the voters will punish the Government’s failure to deliver the only policy to which it had nailed its colours only time will tell. The result will be a Christmas present – a Brexmas – that could give delight to one side, and despair to the other … or perhaps turn out to be one that still resists every attempt to unwrap it, a metaphorical Christmas turkey.

 

Source: Janet Anscombe

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