DExEU – with British in Europe and the3Million
My first meeting of day 1 in London was with fellow British in Europe Steering Committee members, Jane Golding (Chair) from Germany and Fiona Godfrey from Luxembourg. We were meeting in advance of our scheduled appointment at the Department for Exiting the EU, to compare notes and talk strategy. We then headed over to DExEU, which is located in the Ministry of Defence building in Whitehall. Although I had previously attended a DExEU meeting at the British Embassy in Madrid, this was my first time at their offices in Whitehall.
The meeting was hosted by civil servants, and as usual, Chatham House rules apply, so I am not at liberty to discuss our deliberations. Suffice it to say that there was a genuine feeling that some progress is being made on citizens’ rights issues, and I do believe there is a strong will to ensure that we are protected. I just wish that we felt the same level of reassurance after listening to May and her Ministers, as we do when speaking with the Civil Service. The meeting was also attended by 3 members of the 3Million, including their Chair, Nicolas Hatton.
The DExEU meeting overran by 30 minutes, giving me just 15 minutes to get to my next appointment at the Remainiacs recording studio in Soho. In my haste, walking briskly across Trafalgar Square, my “trip” took on new meaning when I went flying landing on my hands & knees. I was more concerned about my phone, which went flying from my hand – I had been using it as a GPS. Thankfully, no damage to phone or person, more embarrassment than injury.
I arrived in Soho in time, especially as the Remainiacs podcast was running late. My appearance on the weekly anti-Brexit show had been planned for weeks. However, at the last minute and after weeks of trying, Gina Miller also agreed to be on the show. It was a real bonus for me to finally be able to meet her, having seen her twice at the Supreme Court, but not having been able to get close enough to speak.
She was absolutely charming, and told me that she is currently looking into pensions regarding Brits abroad, so I gave her my business card and will hopefully be able to continue a dialogue. It was also a great pleasure to meet host Ian Dunt, number one on the Insurgents Power 250 List. I was interviewed and recorded for 20 minutes, but will have to wait for a future broadcast date.
Naturally, with Gina being available at the last minute, the broadcast episode on 22nd September was dedicated entirely to her, and I can’t think of anyone I would rather be bumped for.
Best for Britain
In the evening, I met with Eloise Todd (CEO) and Sara John of Best for Britain. We were joined by Nacho Romero of Españoles de Reino Unido, who I have worked with often and am happy to call a close friend. I had met with Sara before but this was the first time of meeting with Eloise.
Best for Britain have been very active recently and have very definitely shifted their stance from one of support for a Soft Brexit to a strong position of No Brexit. They are very supportive of everything we are doing and have had some great initiatives recently. A few weeks ago we helped them put together a YouGov survey, and just last week, they brought out an excellent template allowing anyone to write to their MP regarding how they had voted on the Withdrawal Bill. We will continue to work very closely with them, and I will be meeting Eloise again in Brussels, her home town, at the beginning on November. If you are not already a member, please join, so you can keep abreast of their activities.
My final meeting was with Peter French & Patrick Lohlein to discuss the march and rally in Manchester on 1st October. I have met Peter many times before, and was delighted that he asked me again to speak at the #StopBrexit rally. We are all really excited at the prospect of marching on the Tory Party Conference, with our whistles, claxons, bells and horns. The Tory government have not been listening to Brits in EU – on 1st March, we will be impossible to ignore!
Peter tells me that the Jacques Tilly float for the march is coming along nicely, but he is keeping the design a closely guarded secret, despite all my pleas for a sneak preview. Apparently we will love it! Can’t wait for the big reveal in Manchester. I’m sure it will draw a great deal of attention from the world’s press.
I have 3 more anti-Brexit trips planned over the next few weeks:
- 1st October – #Stopbrexit Rally & March on Tory Party conference
- 3rd November – British in Europe Steering Committee in Brussels
- 2nd December – Bremain in Spain Annual General Meeting in Málaga
- 5th December – Next visit to London
If only Ryanair had a frequent flier programme!
Chair – Bremain in Spain