The INsurgents Power 250 – New Year Honours List features Bremain

The INsurgents Power 250 – New Year Honours List features Bremain

The INsurgents Power 250 – New Year Honours List – With a “Power Score” of 93 out of a possible 100, Bremain in Spain ended the year at number 44 in the list of the top Remain insurgents – up 8 places from the previous month.

We were particularly pleased to be given a special mention in dispatches as part of the New Year Honours List:
“There have been a number of times in 2017 where I have seen how the energy, passion and intelligent action have helped move us all forward. Highlights for me included : – the StopBrexit march in Manchester where the passion of the speakers there was both palpable and inspiring (speakers like Sue Wilson of Bremain in Spain, Bonnie Greer, the authors of In Limbo and even Alastair Campbell playing the Ode to Joy on the bagpipes!)”

You can view the full list, and read all about the INsurgents Power 250 HERE: https://www.rise.global/display/the-insurgents-power-250

The INsurgents Power 250 – A bit of fun and a bit very serious. The INsurgents Power 250 is a way of bringing together as many of the voices working to keep the UK in the EU. The idea is – by way of a leaderboard – to create a list where people can follow the most articulate, incisive, informed debate (spoiler alert: we love experts here)- as well as the best of the humour. Each week The INsurgents Power 250 recognises the most inspiring social media accounts so you can follow them, join the community and learn more. We use Klout scores to rank influencers. Klout takes into account social media activity and engagement across many social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Bremain Twitter Team – Since our new Twitter team was put together, co-ordinated by Valerie Chaplin and with new member Elspeth Williams joining, our Twitter reach has increased by leaps and bounds. In September we reached 3000 followers – by the end of 2017 we had achieved well over 5000, and numbers are still rising. Thanks to all of our Twitter team members – James Gambrill, Malcolm Perry, John Moffett and Zoe Adams Green @Bremaininspain

One view on the move forward to Phase Two Brexit negotiations

One view on the move forward to Phase Two Brexit negotiations

BREMAIN IN SPAIN a group campaigning for the UK to remain in the European Union and to protect the rights of British migrants living in Spain, comments on the confirmation by the European Council, last Friday, that Phase Two of the Brexit talks can start.

Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain, commented: “It was no surprise that the European Council agreed Brexit negotiations can move on to Phase Two. Theresa May had hoped that this would mean the start of negotiations on trade but the EU has insisted that certain conditions must be met before trade talks can commence.

“It seems that the EU27 countries were not prepared to take May at her word – rather, they needed the agreements reached during Phase One to be more substantial than a handshake and a promise. Even with all the scurrying around from the Tory government, trade talks will not start until March 2018.

“While trade talks are on hold for now, it seems that the main focus of the next three months will be on a transition deal. The EU issued a statement on Friday outlining its guidelines and clarified that, during any transitional period the UK must abide by all EU membership rules. Therefore, the four freedoms would still apply and the UK would remain under the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice – a situation unlikely to please the extreme Tory Brexiteers.”

Read full article in Euro Weekly News…

 

‘Sacrificed on the altar of trade’: Britons in EU feel betrayed by Brexit deal

‘Sacrificed on the altar of trade’: Britons in EU feel betrayed by Brexit deal

British nationals living in mainland Europe say they are alarmed by claims that their rights have been protected by the Brexit deal sealed by Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker.

One Briton, Ingrid Taylor, who is settled in Germany, described claims that their rights were now guaranteed as “a barefaced lie”.

Brexit impacts on the future lives of an estimated 1.2 million Britons settled in mainland Europe, most of them working. They have accused May and Juncker of sacrificing them in the rush to sign off phase one of Brexit talks.

Taylor said that she believes the European commission has started to use British people in the rest of the EU as “bargaining chips” in reaction to the “intransigent stance” Theresa May took on EU citizens living in the UK.

“After what happened on Friday, the anger has risen,” she said. “We feel betrayed, we feel anger, we feel we have been sacrificed on the altar of trade.”

One of the biggest fears of such Britons is that they will remain “landlocked” in the country in which they now live, unable to move across borders to work for meetings, or for business contracts.

Read the full Guardian article…

Expats still none the wiser despite “sufficient progress” in Brexit talks

Expats still none the wiser despite “sufficient progress” in Brexit talks

There was bitter disappointment from the organisation British in Europe to a joint report by the UK government and the EU which outlines the progress made during the first phase of Brexit negotiations. The 17-page document, released last Friday, talks of “agreements in principle” and states the caveat “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”, leaving millions of EU and UK citizens uncertain about their futures, some 18 months after the referendum result.

Chair of British in Europe, Jane Golding, said: “This deal is even worse than we expected. After 18 months of wrangling, the UK and EU have sold 4.5 million people down the river in a grubby bargain that will have a severe impact on ordinary people’s ability to live their lives as we do now.

The key areas focused on during the first phase of talks were citizens’ rights, the Irish border and a financial settlement. The publication of the report, which announced that “sufficient progress” had been made, now allows them to move on to phase two.

Read full article in the Sur…

Braving the Weather for Bremain!

Braving the Weather for Bremain!

I’ve just got back from another whistle-stop visit to London on Bremain in Spain business, despite the worst weather in the UK for years.

The first of my meetings, on 7th December was with Best for Britain, at their offices in Covent Garden. They are working on a number of anti-Brexit campaigns including a lobbying campaign regarding Amendment 7, which would give MPs a final, meaningful say on the Brexit deal.

 

Their latest project is the release of their own Brexit assessment reports. These reports summarise outcomes by sector, and are being issued to all MPs as we speak – they will be developed and added to over time. Another excellent ongoing project is their training programme workshops. They are running these training sessions all over the country – the objective being to teach people how to converse with, and hopefully convert Leavers. It is an ambitious campaign aimed at reaching all parts of the UK, within 75 miles of each and every constituent – giving remainers the skills and the confidence to help change public opinion. The next session, which will be filmed, will take place in Vauxhall in the constituency of Leaver Kate Hoey. We’re hoping to persuade them to extend their road trip to include Spain! It is a pleasure to work with such a passionate, well organised and focussed organisation, and if you’re not already a member, I recommend that you subscribe – https://bestforbritain.org/

 

Outside the Houses of Parliament later, I met up with Steven Bray of SODEM. Steven stands outside Parliament, all day, every day, with a small group of fellow campaigners, wearing his Stop Brexit hat and waving his EU flag. No matter the weather, he is there campaigning, and has become well known amongst MPs and Peers, many of whom often walk over the road to speak to him directly and to tell him to keep up the pressure.

One of his fellow campaigners holds up a sign saying “Toot if you want to Stop Brexit”, and it was very encouraging to hear so many lorry, taxi, bus and car drivers responding. Just standing around for a few minutes in the cold with him really brought home to me the commitment Steven shows in his unique and very special protest.

It was great to see him make the Channel 4 news last week when he was clearly seen and heard. What an amazing character!

Later that day, I visited the House of Lords for a meeting with Libdems Tom Brake MP (Shadow Brexit Minister) and Baroness Sally Hamwee (House of Lords Human Rights Committee). I had met with them both before when I attended a Libdem Round-table meeting on citizens’ rights with the 3Million. They had said last time that they were open to further meetings, and not to wait to be invited, so I took them at their word and asked for a one-to-one meeting. It was great to be able to talk exclusively about issues relating to Brits in Europe this time around, and about our continuing fight against Brexit. Our meeting took place in a House of Lords tea room, complete with waiter service, individual tea pots, and a delicious warm scone with clotted cream and jam!

Our conversation covered citizens’ rights issues, especially those that have not as yet been agreed in the negotiations. We talked about the likelihood of the talks moving on to phase 2 and whether or not the EU would agree that sufficient progress had been made. Little did we know that we were going to be proved wrong in the next 24 hours. We also discussed the importance of ring-fencing any agreements, and the lack of progress with regard to Votes for Life legislation.

Baroness Hamwee provided some very useful information with regard to the expected timescales for the passage of the Brexit Bill through the committee stage in the House of Commons, and then the anticipated progress through the House of Lords. She expects that the Bill will be with the House of Lords until after the Easter recess, in April. No doubt the Lords will have a number of amendments of their own before returning the bill to the “other place” for the “ping-pong” stage.

The Libdems are still absolutely in favour of a referendum being offered to the public on the Brexit deal, & to pointing out at every opportunity the nonsense that is Brexit. I will be keeping in regular touch with them both, and with their colleague Sir Ed Davey, who unfortunately was unable to join us on this occasion. I shall be looking forward to another meeting, and another scone!

My next visit to London was on Monday 11th December. It was touch and go as to whether the weather was going to prevent my trip, but thankfully I made it. Fellow Bremain member Elspeth Williams joined me outside Parliament, having travelled from Spain via Wales! There we joined some very cold and committed protesters for the Rally regarding a petition on an exit deal referendum. Unfortunately, due to severe weather conditions, many were unable to make it to London on the day, including the rally organisers, but those that did attend certainly made their voices (and horns and whistles!) heard. There was a lot of support from passers by, and a number of Lords came out to thank us for our efforts. Judging by the number of photos in the press the next day, accompanying Brexit news stories, there were a few journalists around too.

After 3 hours in the cold, & in need of thawing out, Elspeth and I headed off for a hot drink. By this time, the debate taking place in Westminster hall regarding the referendum had started. The debate was the focus for the rally in the first place, so we decided to see if there were any seats left in the public gallery of Westminster Hall. Luckily there were, so we were able to warm up inside whilst watching a fascinating debate for the next 2 and 1/2 hours.
We witnessed some great speeches, especially from Caroline Lucas (Greens), Geraint Davies (Labour) & Tom Brake (Libdems). The Tories, unsurprisingly, were not in favour of the pubic having any further say in the Brexit proceedings. It was also very pleasing to be able to hear the protesters outside with their chants of “Stop Brexit” and “Bollocks to Brexit”. Whilst we weren’t allowed to take any photos, we were able to tweet throughout the debate. However, it was impossible to keep up with the constant tweeting by Tom Holder, Libdem campaigner – the original petitioner in this case, who was sat in front of us & we’d met earlier at the rally.

Afterwards we had the great pleasure of shaking the hands of Geraint Davies and Caroline Lucas, and having long chats with MPs Susan Jones (Labour) & Peter Grant (SNP). Tom Brake could not stop to chat but I was pleased that he said “Hello Sue” as he walked past, as I was talking to Caroline Lucas. I had met Peter Grant before, as he is on the House of Commons EU Select Committee, which I presented to back in January. I remember him being very generous with his time back then, as he was again after the debate today – he had some interesting anecdotes about the Select Committee’s recent trip to the Irish border (which they had trouble locating!), and about the recent appearance of Davis Davis in front of the committee.

 

We asked Susan Jones, who had been responsible for opening & closing the debate what the next steps were. She said that they do not vote on the subject, only debate. However, she stressed that this was just the first of what would be many debates on the subject in coming months – more importantly, any further debates would take place in the House of Commons, so we’ll be watching out for those. This subject is clearly far from closed. If nothing else, the debate was a useful indication of where some MPs stand, who is passionate on the topic, and what the arguments are on both sides.

 

Following the debate, I started my journey back home to Spain. The tube and a train delivered me to Stansted, 10 hours before my flight at 7.00 the following morning. I had returned my hire car a day early before heading to London, so that I would not have to drive overnight in what was expected to be the coldest night yet (-10 degrees centigrade). After an uncomfortable night, hours of which was spent on a cold floor, next to what seemed to be 1 of only 2 electric sockets in the entire airport, I took off in the morning only 15 mins late and with a full charged mobile! Remind me next time I make plans to visit London not to go in the winter! Thankfully now back in Spain enjoying the sunshine, and reinvigorated for the fight!

Sue WilsonChair