British expats living in Spain have been reassured they will be able to stay in the country after Brexit if no deal is reached by the time the UK leaves the EU in 2019.

Spain’s foreign minister Alfonso Dastis told the BBC on Sunday it would ensure around 300,000 British nationals officially registered as living in the country would not have their lives disrupted if Brexit negotiations break down.

“If there is no deal, we will make sure that the lives of ordinary people who are in Spain, the UK people, are not disrupted,” Dastis said.

He added that he hoped there would be a deal.

“As you know, the relationship between the UK and Spain is a very close one in terms of economic relations and also social exchanges. Over 17 million Brits come to Spain every year and many of them live or retire here and we want to keep it that way as much as possible,” he added.

His assurances come as the UK government is making further preparations in case no deal can be reached with the EU come the spring of 2019, when the country quits the European Union.

The scenario would be that Britain would have to negotiate individual bi-lateral agreements with each of the EU member states over residency and matters like healthcare.

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