On July 7, Boris Johnson resigned as UK Prime Minister following a series of allegations.
It was Partygate that did the most damage to Bojo’s reputation with the Prime Minister attending a "bring your own booze" party in the Downing Street garden during the first lockdown.
This was at a time when thousands of families were denied the right to visit their sick and dying relatives due to the Government’s Covid restrictions.
The Chris Pincher scandal was the final straw with Tory MPs as well as the public, calling for the PM to do the right thing and stand down.
What British expats in Spain will want to know is who will replace Boris Johnson and what impact a change in leader will have on their lives here in Spain.
Who will replace Johnson?
The Conservative Party has already begun the process to find their next leader and new British Prime Minister.
It will be down to the 358 Conservative MPs getting to choose their favourite to take over from Johnson with the last eight candidates being Rishi Sunak, Liz Truss, Tom Tugendhat, Penny Mordaunt, Kemi Badenoch, Nadhim Zahawi, Jeremy Hunt and Suella Braverman.
Each candidate must get at least 30 votes or they are immediately eliminated. MPs will then continue to vote until there are just two candidates remaining.
At this stage, it is up to 200,000 Conservative Party members to cast their votes with the new leader being announced around September 5.
The winner will then remain in power, barring any further resignations, until January 2025 when the next General Election is due to take place.
Could the UK rejoin the EU under a new Prime Minister?
One obvious question is whether a change in leadership could result in the UK rejoining the EU again?
There’s no doubt that Boris Johnson was one of the biggest driving forces behind the leave campaign and it is certainly not out of the question that the UK could eventually become a member of the EU once again.
Jeremy Hunt who was a remainer is currently in the running for the role of PM and many believe he would look to forge a closer relationship with the EU. This could then ultimately lead to an application for the country to rejoin the bloc.
Many feel that things can’t get much worse, however, EU diplomats feel that the relationship could remain frosty for a few more years if hardliner Liz Truss were to become the UK’s next Prime Minister.
The relationship between the UK and the EU has been strained in recent months with the UK threatening a new bill which would override elements of the Brexit agreement and fuel a trade war with the bloc.
Ireland’s Taoiseach Micheál Martin believes that the Prime Minister’s resignation is an opportunity for the UK and EU to build a stronger relationship.
“Prime Minister Johnson has led the British Government during an especially challenging period, including dealing with the impact of COVID-19 and the response to the war on Ukraine.
“While Prime Minister Johnson and I engaged actively together, we didn’t always agree, and the relationship between our governments has been strained and challenged in recent times.”
Support for Brexit is at an all-time low due to the way it was implemented with an Opinium poll at the end of 2021 showing that 42% of leave voters felt it had gone wrong.
If Labour gets into power, would they look to join the EU?
According to Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, the party would not look to take the UK back into the EU or the single market in the event that they won the next General Election.
Joining the Customs Union would also be off the table for the Labour leader.
“Let me be very clear. Under Labour, Britain will not go back into the EU. We will not be joining the single market. We will not be joining a customs union.”
Starmer said that rejoining the EU would only create more division in Britain and instead favours a five point plan to “make Brexit work”.
What would change for expats in Spain if the UK rejoined the EU?
For a start, freedom of movement would no longer be an issue.
Currently, British nationals may only stay in Spain for 90 days in any 180-day period. Travellers would also be permitted to use EU passport lanes once again.
Driving licences would no longer be a problem. Since May 1, UK expats living in Spain have not been able to drive due to a deadlock between the UK and Spanish governments on licence exchange.
Those wishing to retire to Spain, start a business or look for work would not need a residency visa. They also wouldn’t have to prove a sufficient amount of income which is currently set at €27,115.20 per annum for the first applicant with an additional €564.90 per month for each extra family member.
Studying in Spain would also be easier for UK nationals looking to study at one of the country’s Universities. Pet owners would also find it a lot easier to bring their pets into the country.
There’s no doubt that if the UK were to rejoin the EU that life would become a lot easier not only for those already living here but for those who dream of making Spain their new home.
Whether the UK will join the EU is uncertain, but if we have learnt nothing more in recent weeks it’s that with UK politics anything can happen.
Image Credit: Number 10 Flickr
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