Boris Johnson’s father Stanley has confirmed that he is applying for a French passport on the eve of Britain’s Brexit transition period coming to an end.
In an interview with the French radio station RTL, he 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.”
Johnson, 80, served as an MEP 40 years ago, and was one of the first UK civil servants to work in Brussels after Britain joined the European Union, then the European Economic Community, in 1973. He went on to work for the European commission.
He campaigned for the UK to remain in the EU in 2016, while his son led the leave movement.
Britain’s transition period will end at 11pm on Thursday, after parliament voted through the prime minister’s post-Brexit trade deal on Wednesday. The UK will no longer be affected by the EU’s freedom of movement rules, meaning among other things that millions will lose the automatic right to work in the EU’s 27 member states.
Thousands of Britons have acquired EU citizenship since the Brexit vote. More than 350,000 had applied for nationality of another EU state as of January this year. Close historical ties between Ireland and the UK put the country at the top of the league of EU passports held by dual-national Britons.
According to AFP, Johnson said in his interview: “I will always be European, that’s for sure.
“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 concluded, apparently referring to an EU passport.
His 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 had been born in Versailles and that if her father received French citizenship she too would like to become French.