A Letter to Dominic Raab and Thérèse Coffey

The benefit of Brexit

As a recipient of a UK state pension and living in the Czech Republic, last Friday I received a letter from the British government. The letter was organised by the Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, and the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Thérèse Coffey. Below is the text of what I have written in reply, sent this afternoon by email, to both ministers.

Dear Mr Raab, Dear Ms Coffey,

On Friday 4th December 2020, I received a letter entitled, ‘UK Transition Period: A message for UK Nationals living in the Czech Republic’. Ostensibly, it came from the British Embassy in Prague. However, as is acknowledged at the end of the letter, it was actually compiled by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) in London. Interestingly, it was posted to me from Port Louis, Mauritius – so much for the UK government’s commitment to reducing its carbon footprint 🙁

At least on this occasion, the DWP managed to address me with my correct name. Just over a year ago, I received another letter from the DWP dated 7th October 2019, assuring me that following Brexit, I would still continue to receive my UK state pension. However, that letter was addressed to Rev Warwick Panayiotou – one of about 98,000 letters that were sent out with incorrect names on them. Please note, my surname is Yates. Both that letter, and the recent one, contained the assurance that at the DWP, ‘We treat personal information carefully’. If ever there was an empty promise…..

I knew that I would receiving this latest letter because I had already seen the press release announcing that the UK government would be writing to me. Mr Raab, in that press release you are quoted as saying, ‘Protecting the rights of UK nationals living across Europe is an absolute priority for this government.’ I see you are following the example of your boss, the Prime Minister, in saying something that is a complete and utter lie!

British citizens living and working or, in my case, now retired in one of the 27 EU member states, have never been a priority for this current Conservative government or its two predecessors. Rather, we have at various times been called ‘cards’ and ‘bargaining chips’, by Conservative ministers and MPs. The only reason we have been able to retain any of our rights that the British government is happily taking away from us is because of the of the work of the ‘British in Europe’, a voluntary organisation.

The timing of this letter is a very clear indication that UK citizens living in the EU are at the bottom, and not the top, of your list of priorities. Your letter tells me about all the steps that I need to take in order to secure my future here in the Czech Republic. But when have you chosen to impart all this information? Less than four weeks before the end of the Transition Period, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when many Czech offices are working shorter hours and with reduced capacity, and with the Christmas/New Year holidays at the end of the month.

Stating that, ‘Protecting the rights of UK nationals living across Europe is an absolute priority for this government,’ belongs in the same category as Boris Johnson’s claim to have an ‘Oven-ready deal’ for post Brexit trade with the EU, together with what was written on the side of that bus back in June 2016. They are all lies and falsehoods and you should be ashamed of peddling them.

I have already done all the things listed in your letter. But it isn’t thanks to the help and advice of the current British government, far from it.

Lies, lies & more lies

6 comments to A Letter to Dominic Raab and Thérèse Coffey

  • Sean McCann

    Hi Ricky,
    I’m lost for words to say about this post except to agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments. A friend of mine always explains politicians as follows: “Only two kinds of politicians are neither liars or thieves – dead ones and ones who are both”. As an interested observer I believe the current British Cabinet is extremely well stocked in the liar department and I empathise with you, and the multitude like you including my friend Caroline, retired British citizens thrown upon the mercies of strangers by those whose duty is to protect you.

    No doubt whatever calamity awaits us all in this madness will have been carefully foreseen and planned for by Boris the Great and his merry band and all will be blamed on someone else, somewhere else who just didn’t give way to the great man.

    This weekend in Ireland we are commemorating the centenary of the ‘Burning of Cork’ (11-12 December 1920) by British military and police forces during our War of Independence. A few days after the event Sir Hamar Greenwood, Chief Secretary for Ireland, told the House of Commons that the citizenry of Cork had destroyed their own city in an attempt to discredit Crown forces. A century later I think Sir Hamar’s ghost would be an excellent fit in the Conservative front bench.

    For whatever it’s worth Ricky, know that there are many millions of ‘strangers’ sympathetic to, and concerned for, the welfare of yourself and the other British exiles in the EU. It may not be of concrete use to you all but I hope it is at least a comfort.
    Take care Ricky,

    • Ricky

      Hi Sean,
      Thank you for your understanding & support.

      Your observation is correct. The current British Cabinet has an ample supply of liars. Another of the worst offenders is Michael Gove who appears in my second photo. Apparently, he was on the BBC this morning and several of his statements have since been fact checked & shown to be false.

      Bungling Boris & the right-wing press, with their non-dom owners who don’t pay tax, will all be blaming the EU because of not being able to leave the club but still have all the benefits of membership.

      I didn’t know the story of Sir Hamar Greenwood & the ‘Burning of Cork’ but his ghost is alive & well on the Conservative front bench.

      I know what you say in your last paragraph is true. I get many expressions of support from my Czech and German friends.

  • Chris Gardiner

    Excellent Ricky – somewhat restrained too!

    I have shared your blog with British in Europe’s volunteer administrators of the various Facebook groups helping and advising British immigrants in Europe.

    Glad to be retired in the Czech Republic with some of the relative protections of the Withdrawal Agreement to protect me and my family!

    Chris Gardiner

    • Ricky

      Thanks for the compliment, Chris. As for being restrained, the DWP do have me as Rev so I have to tread carefully 😉

      Thank you for sharing my post. I hope you used the URL of this post, rather than what I put on Facebook. I initially posted it there, purely to other FB friends so it wouldn’t share any wider. But I have now made it public as the blog is obviously public too.

      I agree that both your & my situation here in the Czech Republic is relatively protected, but not thanks to Raab or Coffey 🙁

  • Allan Schoenherr

    Nicely written Ricky. I’m surprised you managed to keep it as concise as that. Condensing several years of neglect and ineptitude into a short letter is no easy feat!

    Kind regards,


    • Ricky

      Thank you, Allan. I decided to keep it concise & only address the issues raised by the letter. I was tempted to also mention the impact of Brexit on the value of Sterling and how that continues to reduce the value of most of my pension income. But I bit my tongue & refrained 😉