PARIS: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s father Stanley confirmed plans to seek French citizenship on the day the United Kingdom broke up with the European Union under the Brexit pact delivered by his son.
If his application is accepted, he will become a dual national and acquire a passport from an EU member country which would give him some advantages in terms of travel.
While speaking to French radio, Stanley Johnson said: “It’s not a question of becoming French. If I understand correctly I am French! My mother was born in France, her mother was completely French as was her grandfather. For me it’s a question of obtaining what I already have and I am very happy about that,” the 80-year-old added.
The father of the politician who ended Britain’s 47-year-old membership of the EU was among the first civil servants appointed to Brussels after Britain joined the EU in 1973.
He worked for the European Commission and served as a member of the European Parliament. He initially campaigned against leaving the EU before changing his mind a year after Britain voted to leave the union in 2016.
“I will always be European, that’s for sure,” he said. “You can’t tell the English: you’re not European. Europe is more than the single market, it’s more than the European Union. “That said, to have a link like that with the EU is important,” he said, apparently referring to an EU passport.
Stanley Johnson’s plans to seek a French passport had already been revealed by his daughter Rachel in a book published in March. She wrote that her grandmother was born in Versailles, France, and that if her father received French citizenship she too would like to become French.
The number of British nationals seeking French citizenship has exploded since Britain’s 2016 referendum vote to leave the EU. In 2016, the number was 439. The following year it rose to 1,605. Last year the number of Brits obtaining French nationality rose to 3,827.