Bremain BrexElection Briefing 4

Bremain BrexElection Briefing 4

Nicola Sturgeon: I have a ‘girl job’ – it’s called running the country Nicola Sturgeon has hit out at Theresa May for gender stereotyping after the Prime Minister suggested there were “boy jobs and girl jobs” around the house. The Scottish First Minister said that in her house, her husband did the cooking and cleaning while she did the “girl job of running the country”.  When she appeared on the BBC’s The One Show last week alongside her husband Philip, Mrs May caused controversy by suggesting there were “boy jobs and girl jobs” in their household.

(Chris Green i News 14 May)

If you’re under 18, Theresa May doesn’t want you to be allowed a vote. Theresa May has resisted calls to lower the voting age to 16, insisting young people could get involved in politics without casting a ballot.  If you are 16 or 17 you can get married, join the armed forces and if you are working you will have to pay tax. And yet you have no say when it comes to picking the next Government. And the Prime Minister thinks this is fair. (Daisy McCorgray New European 15 May)

Have your say in the online vote





  Labour candidate Rupa Huq: We don’t want a load of Theresa May clones in Parliament “Brex-terminate, Brex-terminate,” mocks Rupa Huq in a robotic voice. It’s also an imitation of what Parliament could sound like, in her view, if too many MPs in favour of a hard Brexit are elected on 8 June. “We don’t want a load of Theresa May clones,” says the pro-EU Labour politician, who is fighting for re-selection in Ealing Central and Acton. ( Serina Sandhu i News 16 May)



Liberal Democrats offer fresh Brexit vote at the heart of manifesto pledges The Liberal Democrats put a pledge to offer the British people a second referendum on Brexit at the heart of their manifesto. The party says they would offer a fresh vote – including the option to reject Brexit – after the terms of the deal are made clear  .It has also laid out plans for major boosts to NHS and schools funding and said they would work to build 300,000 new homes a year.  (ITV Report, 17 May)

Not Maggie May, but muddled May The new manifesto reveals a lack of coherent philosophy from Theresa May, and no clear plan for Brexit The Conservative election campaign so far has been duller than an afternoon looking at Jeremy Corbyn’s collection of pictures of manhole covers.  Blessed by an extremist opposition and a big opinion poll lead, the government is coasting, muttering platitudes like “strong and stable” and emphasising its newish prime minister, Theresa May, rather than its party name. (by Buttonwood The Economist 18 May)

Theresa May says the Conservatives stand for gender equality. Tell that to the Tory councillor who says pregnant women shouldn’t become MPs.  I wonder if anyone asked David Cameron, Matthew Hancock or Jeremy Hunt if they would be too busy changing nappies to undertake their dual roles as MPs and cabinet ministers when their babies were born? “How can a woman who is just about to give birth take on a role as MP?” This is the question a Tory councillor asked of Catherine Atkinson, the Labour candidate for Erewash. Not fifty years ago. This happened last week. (Jo Swinson Voices The Independent 19 May)




Brexit takes centre stage in TV debate as Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn absent UKIP’s leader Paul Nuttall found himself outnumbered by 4-1 on Brexit and other issues in a party leaders’ TV debate that was snubbed by Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.  Mr Nuttall was also isolated on immigration and grammar schools as he battled against the Lib Dems’ Tim Farron, Caroline Lucas of the Greens, the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon and Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru. (Jon Craig, Sky News, 19 May)


Comedian Eddie Izzard hoping to become Labour politician The 55-year-old comedian revealed his ambition to enter the political arena in an interview with The Times Magazine. He outlined a vision of “the whole world of seven billion people all having a fair chance”.  And Izzard issued his support for Labour leader Mr Corbyn, saying he “believes in what he [Corbyn] says”. (ITV News 20 May)


Thanks for reading. See you for the next bremain briefing next week!


Bremain BrexElection Briefing 2

Bremain BrexElection Briefing 2

Clive Lewis: “Public should get final Brexit say if they want it”   A Norwich MP is risking the wrath of his party leader once again after calling for a referendum on the final Brexit offer – if the public wants it.  Clive Lewis quit his role as shadow business secretary earlier this year after deciding to defy Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and vote against the bill to trigger Article 50.  But now he has gone a step further. (Clive Lewis MP ITV News Anglia 1 May)


Theresa May mocked by EU parliament’s chief negotiator The European Parliament’s chief Brexit co-ordinator has mocked Theresa May’s election campaign slogan, by suggesting she lacks a “strong and stable” understanding of the complex issues around Britain’s withdrawal from the EU.  Guy Verhofstadt, already a fierce critic of the Prime Minister, finished his attack by saying it is “time to get real” about how difficult a Brexit deal may be.  It comes after a German newspaper reported that in the wake of a meeting with the Prime Minister, Jean Claude Juncker phoned Angela Merkel and said Ms May lives “in another galaxy” and is “deluding herself” over Brexit. (Joe Watts The Independent 2 May)


A guide to what the BBC’s election impartiality actually means  The guidelines are surprisingly detailed. If you imagined impartiality was implicit, you were wrong. The basic principle is that no one party or candidate should be favoured over others, while still taking into account the size and support of the party. There are no percentages, but Labour and the Conservatives, as the biggest parties in the UK, must be given roughly equal coverage, while mid-sized parties such as the Lib Dems will get slightly less, and smaller parties such as the Greens will only be given equal billing to the bigger players in certain circumstances. (Karl McDonald i News The Essential Daily Briefing 3 May)

The 3 reasons May called an election (and the reasons you should thwart her plan) It would be bliss to elect a pro-EU government that would ditch Brexit, says A C Grayling  Theresa May might have had any one of three reasons for calling a General Election.   One is that she was in danger of losing her Commons majority because so many Tory MPs are under investigation for alleged election fraud.  Fraud, and allegations of financial wrongdoing are a theme of the right wing: Tory MPs, UKIP, the Leave.EU campaign have all been the subject of investigations.  Their leading figures have, however, skipped away laughing from their culpability for the fraudulent lies and false promises of the Leave campaign itself.” (A C Grayling The New European 3 May)

Students just blew the general election wide open with one hell of a shock for Theresa May Front-runner Theresa May could be in for one hell of a shock. Students have blown the general election wide open, as 93% say they are registered to vote on 8 June. And the majority of that 93% plan to use their vote either for Labour or to tactically remove the Conservatives from power.  Stepping back from the students, a striking 530,982 under-35s have registered to vote since May called the election. Over half of these people are 18-24. Labour has a solid lead with under-40s, meaning a high turnout from young people could dramatically change the result. (James Wright The Canary 4 May)


Boris Johnson backed by Ukip in General Election UKIP has backed Boris Johnson in the General Election in a major move to endorse Tory Brexiteers. The party have decided not to stand in Uxbridge & South Ruislip where the Foreign Secretary has a 10,695 majority. This is the second time UKIP has decided not to run against Brexit-backing MPs following their election pact with Tory MP Philip Hollobone in Kettering. Deputy leader Paul Nuttall said they would not seek to target seats where a pro-Brexit MP has a slender majority and could lose to a Remainer. This is to avoid splitting the vote and give the pro-Brexit candidate the best chance of winning. (Kate Proctor Evening Standard 4 May)


EU puzzled and alarmed by May’s election meddling claims Prime Minister Theresa May’s claims that the European Union is trying to influence next month’s general election have perplexed and alarmed officials in Brussels, who warn that the rapidly souring tone could derail the Brexit negotiations. EU Council President Donald Tusk on Thursday urged all sides to cool off. “If we start arguing before they even begin, they will become impossible,” he said, adding that the Brexit negotiations were difficult enough as they are, and the stakes too high to let emotions get out of hand. “In order to succeed, today we need discretion, moderation, mutual respect and a maximum of good will,” he said. “Because at stake are the daily lives and interests of millions of people on both sides of the Channel.” (Leo Cendrowicz i News 4 May)


Lib Dems and Labour in fightback after Conservatives’ success in local elections The Lib Dems are announcing a controversial plan to increase all rates of income tax by 1p to raise an extra £6bn for the NHS and social care.  And Jeremy Corbyn is warning that Labour faces a challenge on a “historic scale” as he campaigns in the key general election battleground of the Midlands.  (Jon Craig, Chief Political Correspondent, Sky News Vote 2017 6 May)


Greens withdraw Oxford West and Abingdon candidate in bid to oust Tories   The Green Party has withdrawn its candidate from an Oxfordshire constituency in a move it hopes will help defeat the Tories.  The Greens have now urged Labour to also stand aside in Oxford West and Abingdon and allow the Liberal Democrats to stand against health minister Nicola Blackwood. Sarah Wood, chairwoman of the Oxfordshire Green Party, said: “Our political system is broken, and it makes no sense that parties with many common values stand against each other and let the Tories through.” (Press Association 2017 The Oxford Times 6 May)


EU demands three million citizens be allowed to stay in UK after Brexit, including people with no proof of residency  ‘We will not discuss our future relationship with the UK until the 27 member states are reassured that all citizens will be treated properly and humanely’ The EU has toughened its stance on the fate of three million EU citizens in the UK, demanding even for those with no proof of residency are allowed to stay after Brexit. The lead negotiator for Brussels insisted “red tape” must not be allowed to stand in the way of EU nationals remaining with full rights.  “Individuals legally residing in the UK today must remain residents after withdrawal, including in those cases when people have no documents to prove residency,” Michel Barnier said. (Rob Merrick Deputy Political Editor The Independent 6 May)

Labour will increase tax for top 5% – but not MPs Labour has pledged to increase income tax only for those earning more than £80,000 a year, if it comes to power after the General Election – just above what MPs take home as their salary. Shadow chancellor John McDonnell promised that just the top 5 per cent of earners would face a hike in tax, which would help pay for extra spending on public services. It would mean MPs, who earn £76,000 a year, would be exempt from any increase in income tax. (Richard Vaugham i News 7 May)


We hope you have enjoyed reading the above extracts from important news stories published over the last 7 days and would welcome any comments you may have on how we are bringing the latest news to you.  

Eligible voters urged to register despite ‘votes for life’ setback

Eligible voters urged to register despite ‘votes for life’ setback

Britons living abroad and Europeans living in the UK are suffering prolonged uncertainty while the snap election focuses on negotiations.

With just a month to go before the UK’s snap election on 8 June, Britons on the Costa del Sol who are still eligible to vote are being reminded to register to do so before 22 May.

The organisation Bremain in Spain has put together a fact sheet with links on its website (

The group is one of many representing Britons living in EU countries that have complained at the current Conservative government’s failure to bring in the ‘votes for life’ bill, which previous prime minister, David Cameron, made as an election promise in 2015.

 Under current UK law, any Briton who has lived outside of the country for over 15 years is unable to vote in general elections or a referendum, an issue which led to thousands of disaffected Britons not being able to vote in last June’s in-out ballot.

No time for votes for life

Bremain in Spain said this week, “The prime minister has called a general election on a date that disables people who have lived overseas for over 15 years from voting, despite the Tories’ 2015 manifesto promises to provide ‘votes for life’ in subsequent elections.” The organisation added that June 8 “does not allow enough time to enable votes for life through an Act of Parliament”.

In the Queen’s speech to Parliament on 27 May 2015, reference was made to the Votes for Life Bill, in which the Queen said the bill would “scrap the current 15-year time limit on the voting rights of British citizens living overseas for UK parliamentary and European parliamentary elections, including provisions relating to the registration of overseas electors”.

However, with a change of prime minister and Brexit top of the agenda since this manifesto, the bill has not been passed, once again leaving thousands without a voice in what some say is the most important general election for Britons living abroad in many years.

Bremain in Spain member Margaret King told the group, “All British citizens, including those who live outside the UK, were promised votes for life before the next general election. We now have a general election looming and still no votes for us. This election will culminate in the decision to leave the EU, or not, and will affect those of us living in the EU as much as anybody living in the UK. I want my vote that was promised.”

Brexit theme

Brexit remains at the core of June’s general election, with politicians from all parties using it in their campaigns. In a speech given outside 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, prime minister Theresa May accused European officials of “hardening” their stance on a Brexit deal and spoke of “threats” by European politicians, which she believes have been timed to “influence the polls.”

Using words which chimed with those used by David Cameron before the 2016 referendum, she addressed voters saying, “The choice you now face is all about the future,” referring to the winning party’s responsibility to get the best deal out of Brexit for “this United Kingdom”.

May also claimed in her speech, “Britain’s negotiating position in Europe has been misrepresented in the continental press.”

Opposition leaders immediately hit back, with Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party saying, “She is, it appears, almost wilfully sabotaging the prospects of getting the best possible deal.”

Groups representing EU nationals living in the UK and Britons living in other European countries have shown their concerns after Wednesday’s speech, suggesting that this stance could potentially lead to more difficult negotiations over guaranteeing rights of EU citizens post Brexit.

See original article from Sur in English

Expats like me living in the EU are being denied the right to vote in the general election

Expats like me living in the EU are being denied the right to vote in the general election

On 23 June last year, three million British citizens across Europe could not vote in the EU referendum because of a ban on voting for Brits who have lived overseas for more than 15 years. They were denied the opportunity to vote on their own futures, when they are amongst the most likely to be badly affected by the outcome. To say that many people were upset and angry is a gross understatement. I was disenchanted with the failings of this supposed “democratic exercise” and as a result became the Chair of Bremain in Spain, to campaign for our rights as British citizens in the EU.

Little did I know almost one year on we would be in the same position. We were relieved last October when the Government said it would keep its pledge to allow ‘Votes for Life’ in time for the next election. We were not prepared to take this ‘promise’ at face value and continued to lobby on the subject, including communicating directly with Chris Skidmore, MP. We said that, even if our voting rights were fully restored in time for the next election in 2020, what would happen if a second referendum occurred on any Brexit deal in the meantime, or heaven forbid there was a snap election? The only answer we received was that we would have the vote before the 2020 election. You can imagine our shock when Theresa May announced the early election.

If Britons living in the EU were angry about not voting in the referendum last year, can you imagine how they feel about being denied their democratic right once again? Some see it as a deliberate ploy by the Government to ensure that we cannot vote, in case we act against its own vested interests. Although this idea is a little misguided since many Brits living overseas did vote to leave. (Turkeys voting for Christmas springs to mind). In any case, that still leaves us disenfranchised yet again, at a time when more people are more politically aware and involved than ever before and absolutely want to have their say.

What is particularly galling is the urgency of this election. With more time in hand, we could have pushed for a short bill to resolve the ‘Votes for Life’ matter but I fear it’s impossible now.

With the election just six weeks away, also concerned about the short amount of time available to vote from overseas for those still able to. Voting from outside the UK involves a lead time: obtaining voting papers alone can take weeks. I strongly urge Britons based overseas to vote by proxy rather than by post.

Whatever happens on 8 June, we will fight to protect the rights and freedoms we enjoy as EU citizens – not some rights and freedoms, all of them. It seems that the EU agrees that we should keep all our existing rights and freedoms for life. I am waiting for the day when we hear the same reassurances from the UK government. I am not holding my breath.

 Sue Wilson is Chair of Bremain in Spain

See Yahoo Article

EU and British citizens’ rights must be ringfenced from Brexit no-deal, say campaigners

EU and British citizens’ rights must be ringfenced from Brexit no-deal, say campaigners

Five million EU and British citizens should have their rights ring fenced in the event of a Brexit ‘no-deal’, say campaigners.

Bremain in Spain chair Sue Wilson called for ‘assurances’ that current rights would be maintained even if Britain fails to strike an overall deal with the EU.

It comes after the EU published its Brexit negotiating guidelines, which stated the rights of more than one million-EU based Brits and three million UK-based EU citizens should be protected.

But a Bremain in Spain spokesperson said people are ‘living in limbo…and being used as bargaining chips’ as there is no agreement to ‘ring fence’ citizens’ rights in the event of no final deal.

Wilson said: “We are greatly encouraged by the EU’s commitment to protect our rights for life.

“It seems clear that this is a red line for the EU and will provide much needed reassurance to millions of people who are worried about their futures.

“What would reassure us even more would be a similar commitment from the UK government.”

She added: “Furthermore, we need assurances that any deal agreed relating to citizens’ rights is guaranteed, regardless of other negotiations, and especially in the event of a ‘no deal’ scenario.”

Bremain in Spain is part of a coalition of expat groups called British in Europe.

Campaigners also called on UK political parties to include a pledge to maintain all rights of EU citizens currently living in the UK in their election manifestos.

Jeremy Morgan QC, a member of British in Europe, added: “We need all sides to agree to ring-fence that deal so that it will continue to stand even if there is no wider agreement covering all other matters, or if this is delayed.”

See article on Expatica

ITV Tonight Programme featuring Bremain in Spain (video)

ITV Tonight Programme featuring Bremain in Spain (video)

ITV’s the Tonight programme – Brits Abroad: Is The Dream Over? – features Sue Wilson and Karen Moon of Bremain in Spain highlighting the issues facing UK citizens living in the Spain and the rest of the EU after Brexit. Presented by Julie Etchingham.
27th April 2017

Watch the full programme below – courtesy of ITV

From the ITV website –

“Over one million Britons live and work in other EU countries but until the Brexit negotiations get going, it seems very uncertain what their futures may be.

Many expats moved to Europe hoping for a blissful retirement in the sun. Others chose to settle abroad to work, raise families and to run their own businesses.

Officially over 300,000 Brit’s have set up home in Spain, with around one third of them retirees.

Fiona Foster headed to the Costa Blanca with the Tonight programme to meet musicians from Just Brass. For over a decade the band has been performing some very British-style music, from its base in southern Spain – and its members have graced many of the UK’s top brass bands. Tonight wanted to know whether things have changed for them since last year’s referendum vote for Brexit and, crucially, how they feel about the future.”…… Read the full story