Brexit: the hopes and fears
Ambassador Manley to meet expats groups and regional president in Valencia on Monday
By Jack Troughton BRITISH Ambassador Simon Manley meets expat groups on Monday to gauge the reaction to the Brexit deal struck between the UK and the European Union last weekend.
The diplomat is travelling to Valencia to take a litmus test on how the controversial withdrawal agreement and the ‘future relationship’ sits with people British people who have made their home in Spain.
He will also be meeting with regional President Ximo Puig with the same target.
The open letter penned by Prime Minister Theresa May promising to 'honour' the June 2016 referendum – which triggered the process to leave the EU next March will also be discussed.
Expat campaign groups will explain their members’ views to Mr Manley at the meeting; however, they also urge people to send personal views to the British Embassy in Madrid or to the consulates across Spain.
Margaret Hales MBE, the spokesman for ECREU (Expat Citizens Rights in EU) believes the summit is a golden oppor tunity to air hopes and fears about Brexit.
“Our ambassador Simon Manley wants to know what people think of the deal agreed in Brussels last weekend and the Theresa May letter – people who have any thoughts can also send their reactions to Mr Manley,” she said.
“We are very lucky to have Mr Manley, consul SarahJane Morris in Alicante and her team, who have been working on our behalf and feeding our views back to London.”
The letter, signed by the premier, was dated November 24 on 10, Downing Street notepaper, and has been circulated via the gov.uk website to Spain. Mrs May explains her 'clear mission' to deliver Brexit and secure a 'brighter future' for the UK by achieving a good deal. She pledged: “Throughout the long and complex negotiations that have taken place over the last year and a half, I have never lost sight of that duty.
“It will be a deal that is in our national interest – one that works for our country and all of our people, whether you voted ‘Leave’ or ‘Remain’.”
And the prime minister said the proposed deal – which has yet to be approved in the Houses of Parliament – also protects expats living in the EU’s remaining 27 members and in the UK.
She wrote: “EU citizens who have built their lives in the United Kingdom will have their rights protected, as will UK citizens living elsewhere in the EU.”
Underlining that Britain will always be allies with its European “friends” and fight organised crime and terrorism, she said: “The deal will ensure that security cooperation will continue, so we can keep our people safe.”
Mrs May said she was determined to achieve a Brexit deal that worked for every part of the country: “For England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, for our Overseas Territories like Gibraltar, and also for the Crown Dependencies.”
Saying it was a deal for a “brighter future”, the prime minister also urged people to “seize the opportunity” and begin a new chapter.
And ahead of Parliament’s “meaningful vote” on the deal, she promised: “I will be campaigning with my heart and soul to win that vote and to deliver this Brexit deal, for the good of our United Kingdom and all of our people.”
HM Ambassador to Madrid Simon Manley