WITH Boris Johnson finally admitting defeat and resigning as leader of the Conservative Party following the highest number of government resignations in a single day, his successor will have a big impact on Brits in Spain.
What happens in the post-Boris world will of course depend on who ends up taking over.
With the vast majority of ‘remainers’ having been purged from the party, it is unlikely Britain will see a PM take a completely different approach to EU negotiations on the key issues of the Irish border, the Gibraltar frontier, or UK driving licences.
That being said, there are still ideological differences between some of those expected to throw their hat in the ring.
Steve Baker has strongly hinted that he will be putting his name forward to succeed Johnson.
An arch leaver, he would likely be looking to take an even harder line on the EU having previously campaigned for a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.
Rishi Sunak was previously one of the most popular Tory MPs among the British public. Lauded for his furlough scheme during the pandemic, his popularity ratings have since nosedived following revelations about his billionaire wife’s non-domicile status.
A leave voter, he nonetheless has a reputation for compromise that would perhaps see him take a softer line with the EU.
Liz Truss is popular among the Tory rank-and-file.
The somewhat gaff-prone foreign secretary voted Remain in 2016, but has since tried to rebrand herself as a Brexiteer. Instinctually, she may be more pro-EU than some of her rivals, though she would be keen to show her pro-Brexit credentials if she were to get in the top job and given the foreign officers performance regarding UK driving licences in Spain, don’t expect a cordial EU relationship to be high on the priority list.
Defence secretary Ben Wallace stands as a comparatively steady figure amidst Tory turmoil.
A leaver, his position on the EU would be fairly hardline, though he has proven to be more diplomatic than many of his peers in a wide range of issues meaning a breakthrough to the key unresolved EU issues would be more likely.
Liked by the party membership, but hugely unpopular with the public, Priti Patel would be the most ring-wing candidate for PM. Infamous for her hardline on immigration, she is also a lifelong eurosceptic and it is hard to imagine her being any more compromising than Boris Johnson.
Whoever ends up taking the reins should be reminded of the 400,000 British nationals living in Spain who are no longer disenfranchised and whose views are all too often disregarded.
They should also bear in mind the 34,000 residents of Gibraltar, 96% of whom voted to remain in the EU and the thousands of Brits who STILL cannot drive in Spain on UK driving licences.