Sunday, June 26, 2022

Stanley Johnson: Why I want to become a French citizen

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The Prime Minister’s father campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU and submitted his application on the eve of Brexit

But the Prime Minister told Stanley Johnson he thought his newly adopted nationality was “Magnifique!”, as it turns out.

As Prime Minister who led the UK out of the European Union, Boris Johnson might be a little embarrassed that his own father has now acquired French citizenship.

Mr Johnson Sr, a former MEP, campaigned for Remain in the 2016 referendum and applied for French citizenship on the eve of Brexit.

The 81-year-old revealed he wanted to become a French citizen for two reasons – sentimental reasons, because his mother and grandmother were born in the country, and because he wanted to stay connected to the EU after Brexit.

France’s Justice Ministry issued a written statement to AFP, which said Mr Johnson Sr. “officially acquired French citizenship on 18 May 2022”.

Mr Johnson Sr. said I: “I am actually reclaiming French citizenship because my mother was born in France and my grandmother was born in France. My French lawyer said he thought I would have to reclaim my citizenship. I had to provide all sorts of documents.”

When asked why he did it, he said: “For two reasons, the first was a sentimental reason, it was very important to my mother’s French family, she was born in France and towards the end of her life she even lapsed into French .

“And secondly, what you could call a symbolic reason, since we left the EU, I’ve worked for the EU for more than 20 years, I’ve lived there and we have to keep that connection with the EU countries.

“France is a wonderful country to connect with. Britain needs to have very close ties with the EU on trade issues, as we now see with the Northern Ireland Protocol.

“In due course I will appear before the French Consul General in London and disguise myself and my wife will come with me and I will be given a French passport.”

Asked what the Prime Minister thought of his father becoming a French citizen, Mr Johnson Sr. said: “He had a one-word answer: ‘magnifique!’.”

In an interview with French TV channel BFM, Mr Johnson Sr. said in fluent French: “I am very happy. That means a lot. My mother was born in Paris. For me it is something very precious, it is part of my identity.”

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