BOLTON MP Yasmin Qureshi has promised a constituent she will monitor the UK's reciprocal health are agreement with Malta after Brexit.

She took up the issue with Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan after concerns about its future were raised by Roland Neild from Great Lever.

The 87-year-old was a regular visitor to the Mediterranean Island for 30 years and took advantage of the free healthcare offered to British citizens under a 1956 treaty. A similar arrangement applies to Maltese nationals in the UK .

Mr Neild said: "I have visited Malta many times and have many friends there - both British and Maltese.

"The UK expatriates are very worried that after Brexit they may lose their right to free health care on the island and that Maltese in Britain may also suffer even though the agreement predates us joining the EU.

"This could really damage the tourist trade and Malta's economy. This would be very sad as we have long links with the island, awarded the George Cross after the Second World War."

In 2011 6,652 British citizens lived in Malta and 9,320 Maltese lived in the UK. In 2018 560,000 Britons holidayed in Malta and 22,000 Maltese tourists came to the UK.

Mr Duncan told Bolton South East Labour MP Ms Qureshi: "The UK government wants to continue our existing arrangements with Malta so that no-one faces sudden changes to how they obtain healthcare. Discussions about how to achieve this aim are continuing."

Ms Qureshi told Mr Neild: "I share your concerns that the unique relationship between the UK and Malta could be damaged by Brexit, especially if it is not prioritised. I believe that it would be great shame if this relationship was jeopardised by Brexit."

Mr Neil said: "I am grateful to Ms Qureshi for raising this issue and keeping an eye on it."