When you voted Leave what did you think would happen? | Emma Kay

Thousands of Britons are flocking to leave Spain to avoid deportation. For ex-pats are having to adjust to post-Brexit reality.

Tuesday, 6th April 2021, 4:10 pm
EMPTY: Where have all the Brits gone? Picture: Shutterstock

There have been tears and tantrums because Britons no longer have the freedom to stay in sunny Spain and are having to face up to the inevitable legal consequences.

Brexit for expats has become more than overseas after-dinner gossip. It has become a very real threat.

There are approximately 900,000 British citizens living in the European Union, a third of them living in and around the Spanish Costas. Some have lived in Spain for 15 or 20 years.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Ex-pats are aghast their applications to stay have been rejected and they have to scuttle ‘home’.

Costa-based Brit Shaun Cromber said: ‘My wife has been in tears.’ He admitted to voting Leave without realising, ‘it would come to this’. Come to what? Exactly what did those who voted Leave expect? Abiding by Spanish immigration rules includes us as well, we are not special.

Thousands of ex-pats living in Spain believe they are ‘too important’ to be asked to leave as they are such a boost to Spain’s economy.

This view is woefully ignorant and reeks of self-importance. People seem to have their heads in the clouds without realising they have shot themselves in the foot.

Coming back to the UK is doubtlessly daunting.

Those not registered as Spanish residents can only stay in Spain for three months out of every six. They also lose the privileges of the EU at a stroke. Privileges like the EU reciprocal agreements of free healthcare in Spain.

There is an underlying tragedy of how little Britons were told about the benefit of free movement when Brexit was thrust forward in a hurried frenzy in 2017.

Freedom of movement is a two-way street.

You cannot have your jam roly poly and your Spanish omelette all on one plate. We have been enjoying freedom of movement for decades, seeking out the sun where there is now none.

It seems the dream has ended.

Worshippers must be dealt with the same as partygoers

Good Friday worshippers flocked to the Christ the King Church in Balham, South London. They now face possible fines of £200 each after being told by police they had to abide by the rules.

Communal worship in England has been permitted since March 8, but with strict rules of social distancing. Police found worshippers not wearing masks or being socially distant.

We punish partygoers and snowballers, it should be no different for any gathering. Worship can’t be granted a get-out-of-jail pass for the pandemic. We must be socially responsible and it is reprehensible to gather because we insist some deserve to and some don’t.

It may feel bitter out there but summer is on its way

Our gardens have become little zoological retreats for us and our guests as we can now have up to six people, or two households mixing outdoors.

We are displaying our botanical hideaways to guests to show what we have been getting up to. The mud and disappointment of winter is ebbing away. We all welcome the heat of the sun as we bask like pallid lizards.

Being able to have people in our gardens is bliss. Although still part of the confined Covid regime, it’s a small window which shows we’re heading in the right direction. Exotic sun and sand will have to wait. For now, let’s hoist up our parasols, untangle our deckchairs and hang out the washing. Summer’s coming.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.You can subscribe here for unlimited access to our online coverage, including Pompey, for 27p a day.