This blog post is off the usual topics of the Equusasinus blog and concerns the June 8th 2017 General Election. For UK citizens who live and work in mainland Europe the past year since the Brexit vote has been a nightmare of total uncertainty and the present need is for reliable sources of clear information.
This page is intended for my friends and colleagues who live here in the Costa Blanca, and others in Spain who may find it useful. I shall not go into the issues themselves here but simply provide links and some comments about my own experiences in getting reliable information.
1. Registering to vote in UK election
If you have voted in the UK within the last ten years you are eligible to vote but must register by 22 May 2017 for the general election. In practice, you will need a proxy or postal vote, so allow more time than this for papers to go two ways through the post. Use the online form to register: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
There is a form to print out and sign at the end of this process which must be sent by post or scanned and emailed with details of the person who will be your UK proxy.
You will be contacted by the electoral service of the local authority election office in the place in the UK where you last voted. They will need the address and full postcode where you last registered to vote. In my case I received from Canterbury Council the full information and the confirmation of Overseas Voter rights very promptly. See the example: Acknowledgement Overseas Voter
2. Tactical voting to sabotage Theresa May’s “hard Brexit”
I am assuming that readers of this blog post will only be interested in stopping the train crash which is heading our way. (If you are of any other opinion, this blog post is not for you!) There is information on every UK constituency showing who to vote for against the Conservatives in order to reduce the speed of the Brexit express. Go to www.tactical2017.com and look up your constituency. In my case, Canterbury offers two safe anti-Brexit alternatives Liberal and Labour but I choose Liberal as they are much clearer than Labour on their Remain stance.
I am deliberately and reluctantly choosing to vote against the Conservative Julian Brazier MP, who is a great consituency MP and has personally helped me in the past. These are the kinds of regrettable contradictions of the “Brexit General Election” and there will be difficult choices to make.
3. Eurocitizens 2020
PRESS RELEASE MADRID 21 April 2017:
The British in Europe coalition is pleased to have had high level contact with the UK government to discuss the post-Brexit rights of more than one million UK citizens living in the EU. EuroCitizens Spain is part of the British in Europe Coalition. At a meeting in Madrid on Wednesday British in Europe representatives – who come from a dozen UK citizens groups across Europe – informed the government of the difficulties faced by many people as a result of Brexit and urged it to support our call for all current rights to be conserved.
4. Euro Citizens rights organisations in Spain
ECREU (Expat Citizen Rights in EU) is a pan-European group and although it has representation in Spain I have not found the Spanish end of the organisation very quick to respond to enquiries. In a fast-moving situation there is an obvious need for an alert response from those supposed to be providing information. Nevertheless, although the Spanish connection is not too hot, I joined the ECREU and have found that Dave Spokes (who is in Berlin) is very good at answering enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
See also the main website for ECREU and for those who enjoy Facebook (I do not!) there is plenty going on:
ECREU is in direct discussion with Michel Barnier, chief EU negotiator for Brexit (see newsletter) and that is sufficient reason for me to regard ECREU as the most reliable source of information.
There are other expat citizens’ groups in Spain, including “Bremain” (which seems to have a thing about vetting enquirers!) and there is probably a separate organisation for every three British bars along the costas…
My advice: avoid the minefield and keep it simple. I recommend joining ECREU. I would be pleased to hear from anyone with information along these lines. I do not want a discussion about Brexit on my blog, thank you: this is a Remain site and all UK expats in their right minds will be currently focused on stopping the swivel-eyed loons from their “hard Brexit”.