Votes for Life – a Bremain Campaign 2021

Votes for Life – a Bremain Campaign 2021

2019 Conservative manifesto:

We will make it easier for British expats to vote in Parliamentary elections, and get rid of the arbitrary 15-year limit on their voting rights


After months of inactivity, it seems the British government’s manifesto commitment – to scrap the 15-year rule – is finally taking a step forward.

The Electoral Integrity Bill – which includes the restoration of the democratic voting rights of millions of Brits abroad – will form part of this spring’s Queen’s Speech.


You can read my article about the bill in the Yorkshire Bylines here

Votes for Life - Alastair Stewart

On Wednesday 3 March, there was further good news in the Budget. If you look closely at the small print on page 48, you will find reference to additional funds set aside expressly for the purpose of securing our #VotesForLife .

2.41 Overseas Electors The government is providing an additional £2.5 million to remove
the limit preventing British citizens who live overseas from voting after 15 years.

You can read the Budget in full here



We may have been campaigning for our voting rights for years, but Harry Shindler, MBE, has been doing so for decades. It was Harry that first brought this excellent news to my attention when he phoned me directly following a call from Westminster. Harry wanted to express his appreciation for all Bremain’s efforts and said, “tell everyone that Harry says all your efforts have been worth it.”

Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to see the bill make significant progress through parliament in time for Harry’s 100th birthday in July. What a birthday present that would make!

Just in case, we’re not done campaigning yet, so please keep writing to your MP and the government to demand the restoration of our democratic rights. Thank you, from me and from Harry!

Sue Wilson


Bremain will be relaunching our campaign very shortly with resources for you to share on social media, a template letter for you to send to your MP and other ideas so do check back. Take a look at the resources we have provided previously here.

Update 20 March 2021

The latest article in the Olive Press from Sue Wilson, with quotes from the wonderful Harry Shindler, MBE – ” Have faith! This thing will happen after 25 years of campaigning. With the promises made this time, I have every confidence.”

British expats in Spain and across Europe welcome UK move to scrap 15 year voting rule

Update 25 March 2021

It’s taken a while, & we’ve been round the houses to get here, but our Bremain in Spain Chair finally got a response from Chloe Smith, Cabinet Office, re government plans to scrap the 15 year rule.

Next UK General Election








Get involved!

Get involved!

Brexit may be “done” but there is still plenty of work for Bremain to do.  Over the coming months we will be working on a number of campaigns to:

  • hold the UK government to account
  • ensure a close relationship with the EU
  • protect our rights as British citizens in Europe
  • fight for the restoration of our democratic voting rights

You can help by getting personally involved & staying informed. Whether it’s by attending an online event, signing a petition, writing to your MP or supporting a campaign, there are plenty of ways to do your bit. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Thank you for your continued support & trust. Any help will be gratefully received! 

Sue Wilson – Chair

European Movement UK are holding an event on 2 February at 18.00 GMT. The speaker is David Gauke – former Secretary of State, the Treasury & Secretary of State, Justice.

Register to attend here. View other forthcoming events here.

The 3 Million are holding an online event on 4 February at 19.00 CET – The rights & wrongs for the rights of EU citizens in the UK in 2021 will feature a number of speakers, to be announced shortly.

Register to attend here.

Unhappy about the thin trade deal with the EU? Contact your MP & demand they build on the deal.

Use Best for Britain’s ‘Hey MP!’ app to email or tweet your MP – just enter your postcode & let the app do all the work for you.

Click here to start the process.

Renew are working with French lawyer, Julien Fouchet, on a legal challenge re the loss of our EU citizenship.

You can read more about the case on our dedicated web-page here.

You can get personally involved by submitting your own testimonial here.

European Movement UK are calling on Jacob Rees-Mogg to reverse the recent decision to abolish the HOC Brexit Select Committee.

Help them send a message that Brexit scrutiny must continue & that parliament must be able to hold the government to account.

Sign the petition here, then please share.

March for Change are asking the Prime Minister and the leaders of UK political parties to commit to a Public Enquiry into the UK’s response to the Coronavirus Outbreak.

The UK public deserves answers as to the UK’s appalling death rate, problems with testing & issues with PPE supply for the NHS.

Sign the petition here.

UKPEN – who work very closely with Grassroots for Europe – have put together a re-join register.

The aim is to build a comprehensive list of supporters wishing to re-join the EU asap.

Sign up here.

New Europeans are encouraging citizens of Europe to unite in solidarity to declare our commitment to peace, freedom & democracy.

Add your name to the Declaration of Solidarity between Europeans by signing here.

The British Embassy in Madrid have been keeping us regularly updated will all the latest news & issues affecting the lives of Brits in Spain.

For all the latest information on your rights & responsibilities, check-in regularly to our dedicated web-page here.

Renew’s campaign for EU Citizenship for Brits in EU 27

Renew’s campaign for EU Citizenship for Brits in EU 27


Terry, Julien and the team now have over 400 supporters signed up to back this campaign. The more supporters to sign up with give more weight to both cases so  please consider submitting your details. Read on to see how you can help.

Bremain in Spain and the Renew Party UK started working together way back in April 2018 when they approached us to assist with developing their policies re Britons Abroad. We have remained in regular contact, mainly through Terry Knott, Renew European Coordinator. You can read more about Renew here and their policies on Britons Abroad here.

Terry has made us aware of a new campaign for Britons in the EU27 to maintain their EU citizenship and is working with French lawyer and Bremain member Julien Fouchet and his team. Here’s what Terry has to say about the campaign:


There are 1.4 million British passport holders in the EU, including YOU, with 80% working, studying or researching (U.K. government own figure). For the past 4 years, we’ve been treated like mushrooms: kept in the dark and fed on manure!

We’ve lost our vote in the EU, due to Brexit and our vote in the U.K., after 15 years, even if we pay taxes.

Enough. The Renew Party is working with the inestimable French lawyer, Maitre Julien Fouchet and his team, pro-bono, to win European Citizenship and YOU can help him, win back our Freedom of Movement, in the EU and so much more. Read on for how members of Bremain and beyond can support this initiative.

Col Terry Knott MC
Maitre Julien Fouchet
The document below outlines the case and a copy has been sent to Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, and Belgian MEP Guy Verhofstadt.
There have been cases before which have been unsuccesful, however, M Fouchet and Terry both believe that these cases stand a much better chance of success, now that Brexit has actually happened.

Below you can read both the testimony and a newspaper article submitted by one of the plaintiffs, Alice:


Here I am, a Citizen of the European Union whose rights and privileges have been stripped away from me without me being able to vote on the matter.

Who is it that dares to say that I no longer naturally belong where I have made my home in total legality? That I should need a ‘Carte de Sejour’ to confirm my duty to the state in which I live and work; when only yesterday I enjoyed full and fair rights and privileges?

My only privilege now is to pay my taxes; with what in return? Do I have freedom of movement to live and work in 27 countries? NO! Why not? Because people living in a country that saw my birth, 1000 miles away, and where I can no longer vote, who know nothing of my situation, have decided that ‘they’ are better off stripping ‘my’ rights away. What utter nonsense. How unfair is that?

The treaties demand that decisions on the welfare of European Citizens be taken as close as possible to the people concerned. Those people who voted in the referendum in 2016 live very far away from me. They have other preoccupations, such as fishing rights or sovereignty with gunboats to back up their arguments. Those arguments had nothing to do with my situation and yet I have been fully affected by them in a negative way. I have lost my only rights to vote anywhere as a consequence, as well as my Freedom of Movement.

Continue reading

The mass media try to tell me that I am no longer a European Citizen but CIVIS EUROPEUS SUM! Once a European Citizen, always a European Citizen. Mr Murdoch was visibly furious about being summoned to come before the Parliamentary Select Committee and vowed his vengeance in his newspapers. He appears to have managed. I started to campaign for our rights when I realised that there was no one in power in the UK with the slightest regard for my situation or the situation of millions of others like me. To be disenfranchised is a horrible feeling; with one decree you are thrown back into a state similar to that of childhood. Your voice does not matter, your opinions do not change anything. There is a feeling of being bereft. The suffragettes were not fighting for something that they had lost nor for something that they had previously held. They were fighting for new rights. The arguments of the Suffragettes and the abolitionist movement in the USA are just as valid now as they ever were. I am fighting to regain my rights, to be counted as a grown-up adult. What happens when you lose the right to vote? You are disenfranchised, this means that you become a child in the eyes of society. A child with no parent or guardian to take up your problems or worries. Just as an orphan can ask for emancipation when his or her parents die and he or she has to take on the responsibility for a family, so do I ask to be emancipated, to be able to vote again as a fully-fledged European Citizen once more. Why was there no one there to speak up for me? Unlike other European countries the United Kingdom has no Member of Parliament for those who live outside its borders. France in comparison does have parliamentary representatives for its expatriates, wherever they live in the World. The only thing or structures that the UK has are the consular services or the British Council (that British citizens have no access to). Consular services have been reduced to mere trade envoys as Mrs Ratcliffe has found to her cost. A British person outside the UK has no support or voice and there is no help. Members of Parliament are unreachable by people who are not their constituents. An MP is not allowed to reply to a letter from someone outside their constituency (James Foley’s case). This system, or lack of it is fine if you have an MP. Not so good if you don’t have one. The only recourse is to write to the Upper House or Her Majesty The Queen. I wrote to Lord Hestletine in 2016. To Lord Adonis, To Dominic Grieve who have since become part of the European Movement.  The Queen however was unable to concern herself with ‘political’ matters. Mrs Ratcliffe has an admirable husband who has publicised her case but how many Britons are there with no protection whatsoever? Until January 2020 Britons had access to European Union consular services and ultimately judicial help through the European Union Court system. A person accused of a crime could ask for help from any European Union Embassy or Consular service. This is no longer true. I was turned away by the guards, from the UK Embassy in Oslo with my British born, dual national Anglo/French son in 2017 when he had a serious personal problem. What are we to say to Mrs Page who had planned to live out her retirement in a lovely house in the French countryside surrounded by her horse, her dogs and her cats, when after the referendum her income from the UK was slashed by a third due to the Brexit vote, and who is now in a retirement home in Hungerford without her beloved animals? What do we say to my godfather, Mike Johnson, whose two girls, who have always lived in France and are having difficulty getting their Cartes de Sejour, or the twins who went for French nationality: One was given it , but the other was denied it. A great many of those worst affected are recently arrived British women, widows, divorcees, wives of EU nationals. Some with children at foot with dual nationality. Which jurisdiction will uphold the rights of divorced couples, in the future? Collateral damage, you might say, Collateral damage, as if that was a fair excuse. Life is unfair, you might say, Yes: that is the reason for the existence of the Courts and their Justice system. Remember, last month, that all of these people were European Citizens and totally and legally within their rights to be where they are now. They are now destitute of their rights. What should we all do in these examples?  I do not feel that it is right to wave a ‘flag of convenience, like some clandestine ship’ by taking the nationality of another European country and by virtue of that subterfuge, be recognised once again as a European Citizen (many people cannot for various reasons). I still am a European Citizen and wish to stay so. I was given Citizenship of Europe by virtue of my country joining the European Union in 1973. Reinforced in 1992 by the Maastricht treaty. From that moment forward I have been a European Citizen I own that Citizenship. It is a fundamental status. My inalienable right, part of my being. One thing is certain, and that is that on the 31st January 2020 I was a fully fledged European Citizen with all the rights and obligations mentioned in the European Charter of Human rights. Since that date no one has sent me a message personally to tell me that I am no longer a European Citizen. If they had I would have contested it.  Instead without warning, I was made aware that I could no longer vote in the municipal elections in March 2020. My name was absent from the register, with the humiliation of being singled out. During the Brexit negotiations we have all been told that nothing was final until everything was signed. The social side was sadly forgotten. Why have I been discriminated against? Although everyone understands that geopolitical states are often in flux, there is a growing group of families that are spread over the whole of Europe and these people are often highly educated and possess three or more languages, they need to be able to belong to a group that has distinct protections rights and duties. Who pays for my European Citizenship? I pay for it at the moment through taxation in my chosen country France. When on European soil the taxes of all European citizens are collected and a proportion is ring fenced for European projects. When outside European soil, the taxes of European citizens have always gone to the country of residence. This should not have to change. The finances of Europe will not suffer from giving me back my rights. Civil rights are often made to sound like some outlandish impertinence. Nothing could be further from the truth. Basic Human rights are the bedrock of society.

You can see from the documents below what information Terry and the team require, how your data will be handled securely and how to join the campaign. Obviously in Spain the document would be Residencia instead of Carte de Sejour.

If you would like to participate, please download the forms from here, complete and send them, along with the necessary supporting documents via email to

Should you have any queries, please email the team directly on the above address. Bremain would like to wish Terry, Julien and the team every success.

A link to this page will be sent out to Renew supporters shortly via their weekly briefing. To receive it, please sign up here


Here’s what Terry wrote in this past week’s Renew Briefing:

With effect 1 February, the RENEW PARTY in Europe is expanding its reach and activities, to reflect and respond to the 27 different countries Remaining in the EU.

As most of you will know, RENEW has agreed among other objectives, oriented within the UK, also to begin re-forging links with the EU.

To that end, a dedicated team is being formed in France, headed up by two Joint Coordinators *.  Further teams will follow, in a Phase 1, including Spain, Italy, Netherlands and Germany.

If any EU based Member or supporter of RENEW feels motivated to help in a low key way, to coordinate information in their own country, please contact:

*Alice Bouilliez, email:

*Paul Fisher, email:

Autumn/Winter Events

Autumn/Winter Events

10th December

 Virtual event

16.30 CET

Europe’s economy: How can it be reset?
Speakers: Laurence Boone, Tadeusz Kościński, Maarten Verwey
Register to attend here


10th December

 Live Panel Event on Facebook & Twitter

18.00 – 19.00  GMT

Good Law Project
Cronyism: how can Government justify handing top jobs to their mates?
Speakers: Jolyon Maugham QC, Clive Lewis MP, Dr. Helima Begum
Register to attend here

Good Law Project

10th December

Online event,
Live streamed

19.00 – 20.00 GMT

The Guardian Live
A Year in Westminster with:
Marina Hyde & John Crace

Cost: £5 & booking fee
Book tickets here

Guardian Event

3rd December

Online event

19.00 – 21.00 GMT

N.E. Surrey for Europe/Mole Valley European Movement
Johnson’s Great Brexit Deal – how far have we got?
Guest Speaker: Prof. Michael Dougan
Register to attend here

Michael Dougan

3rd December

Online event

12.00 – 13.00 CET

Going Global:
The Brexit Enquiry
The transition period comes to an end this year – are you ready?
Lee McDarby talks to Vicky Pryce & Charlie McGreevey
Register to attend here

Brexit 31220

2nd December

Online event

18.30 – 20.00 GMT

Islington in Europe
EU Nationals – understand your options post-Brexit
Speakers: lawyers from Wilson solicitors & Wesley Gryk solicitors will answer questions
Register to attend here

Brexit EU nats 021220

25th November


17.00 – 17.40 CET

British Embassy Q&A exclusive for Bremain members

Featuring Lorna Geddie, Regional Consular Policy Advisor & Bremain council

Register to attend here

British Embassy

24th November

Online event

19.00 GMT

Oxford for Europe

“Our Democracy & the Rule of Law – Who is Threatening them & Why?”

Speakers: Jessica Simor QC & Peter Jukes, Writer/Activist

Register to attend here

Jessica Simor & Peter Jukes

21st November

Online Conference

Times tbc

Stay European

Campaign for EU associate membership scheme

To express an interest in taking part, email:

Stay European

17th November


12.00 – 13.00 CET

European Parliament UK Liaison Office

The Final Hurdle – Will the EP Consent to the Brexit trade deal?
Moderator: John Peet (The Economist)
Speakers: MEPs Kati Piri & Christophe Hansen

Register to attend here

EU Nov

12th November

Online event

20.00 – 21.00 CET

Liberal Democrats in Europe

Citizens’ rights post Brexit for UK nationals living in the EU

Presented by Lord Oates

Register to attend here

Lord Oates

12th November


15.00 GMT

Tony Blair institute for Global Change & YouGov

How the pandemic has changed attitudes to globalisation & technology

Speakers: Tony Blair, Indra Nooyi & Stephan Shakespeare

Register to attend here

Tony Blair YouGov

3rd November

Live on Slido & You Tube

 13.00 – 14.00 GBT

UK in a Changing Europe

Transatlantic relations & the US election

Chaired by Anand Menon

Register to attend here

UK in a Changing Europe

15th October
Online event

20.00 BST

In Limbo Book Launch

Guest speakers include:
Ian Dunt, Elena Remigi, Lord Greaves

To register your interest, click here

In Limbo

15th October

12.00 BST

Respect our Rights, Keep your Promises
Placard Protest & live stream.
Speakers include Terry Reintke MEP

To join the event on Facebook, click here

Rights & Promises

8th October
All day lobby

19.00 Virtual Rally

European Movement UK
Online lobby & #No2NoDeal virtual rally
Sign up to take part here
Supported by Grassroots For Europe


29th September
18.00 – 19.00 BST

UK in a Changing Europe
Beyond Brexit Live
With Lisa Nandy MP & Anand Menon.
Register here

Sept 29th
23rd September

20.00 – 21.30 BST

Ian Dunt Online Event
How to be a liberal.
Hosted by Bath for Europe & Cambridge for Europe
Register here

Ian Dunt event 230920

16th September
19.00 BST

EU Citizens in the UK Webinar:
Challenges, Stories & What Next?
Guest speakers:
Matt Rodda MP
Elena Remigi – In Limbo
Monique Hawkins – The 3 Million

EU Citizens Event
12th September

15.00 – 18.30 BST

BBC Proms EU Flags
Details being confirmed, Covid measures will apply
Reserve a place here
EU Flag Mafia event 120920
3rd September

12.30 – 14.00 BST

European Parliament
Liaison Office
Live Webinar:
The European Parliament & Future EU-UK trade relations
Register here

EP Event
3rd September

19.00 BST

Grassroots For Europe Webinar:
Britain’s road back to Europe. How quickly can Brexit be reversed? Featuring journalist Will Hutton
Register here

GFE event 030920
Europe Day 9th May- Bremainers Celebrate with Memories

Europe Day 9th May- Bremainers Celebrate with Memories

Europe Day is held on 9 May every year in celebration of peace and unity in Europe. The date marks the anniversary of the historic Schuman declaration‘. At a speech in Paris in 1950, Robert Schuman, the French foreign minister, set out his idea for a new form of political cooperation in Europe, which would make war between Europe’s nations unthinkable. Schuman’s proposal is considered to be the beginning of what is now the European Union.

Tragically, the UK was no longer a member state of the European Union for the seventieth anniversary of Schuman’s speech. This Europe Day was, therefore, all the more poignant. The loss was felt by Brits in the EU, EU citizens in the UK and Remainers everywhere. It saddens us that the freedoms we took advantage of, to live, love, work, study & retire in the EU, will be denied to future generations. A message of solidarity and friendship from the ambassadors of all the EU nations to the British people underlined how much we are losing, but also how much there still is to fight for.

On Saturday May 9 this year, inspired by Steve Bray’s #2020MarchForEU virtual March on Parliament, Bremain members celebrated Europe Day. In a break from our usual business, Facebook Group members shared their photographs & memories of the last 4 years of marching, campaigning & waving the EU flag. We marched in rain and sunshine, we held rallies, signed petitions, we wrote letters and e-mails, and we never gave up. And we forged friendships that will continue to unite us across Europe, whatever the next few years bring.


Please view our gallery images. Click to enlarge and simply scroll through.

“Growing blue hair and blowing a whistle!”


“Bremain in Spain – keeping me sane!”

“Would not have missed it for the world”


“As always, great to meet so many lovely kindred spirits and to feel the solidarity!”

“Some amazing memories and lovely friendships”


“Happy Europe Day one and all. Too many photos to choose from!”

March in Malaga – Bremain Annual Strategy Meeting & AGM

March in Malaga – Bremain Annual Strategy Meeting & AGM

On Saturday 7 March, the Bremain Council gathered together for our annual strategy meeting, to discuss every aspect of Bremain business. The most important agenda item was determining our goals, aims and strategies for our short/medium term future. We came up with a comprehensive list for the rest of 2020, and determined that with the unpredictability of Brexit, looking any further ahead at this stage would require a much more powerful crystal ball!

Other topics discussed included council roles and responsibilities, our current campaigns – #Letters2Europe and #VotesForLife, merchandising and fundraising, a membership drive, collaborations with other groups, and regional group activities.

The council also spent time revisiting our website, Facebook group, Facebook pages and Twitter account descriptions to update all relevant information in line with the new post-Brexit landscape, and to reflect our new aims and strategies.

On Sunday 8 March, the council were joined by Bremain in Spain members for our Annual General Meeting. Bremain accounts were introduced, Chair and council members were re-nominated and voted for unanimously, and the Bremain Annual Report was presented.

The Annual Report included details of membership numbers and growth, affiliations, a review of 2019 including our achievements, and our newly agreed goals, aims and strategies for 2020.

The audience took an active role in the meeting, with animated discussions and lots of questions on a variety of topics including: Votes for Life campaign suggestions, merchandising ideas, sponsorship, expanding newsletter readership and extending our reach in Spain. All attending members then joined the council for lunch in the garden, where the discussions continued in the sunshine.

Thank you to all those that attended, for your ongoing support, and for the great feedback we received following the event – you helped make it an enjoyable, interesting and successful afternoon. See you next year!

Many thanks to Jim Westlake who took all the photos.