Boris Johnson’s father Stanley says he is “absolutely delighted” to retain a link to the EU after Brexit, as it has been confirmed that he has acquired French citizenship.
The former member of the European Parliament said Boris responded to the news with one word: “Magnificent.”
The French Ministry of Justice has confirmed that Stanley Johnson, whose mother, Irene Williams, was born in Versailles, was granted citizenship on Wednesday after applying last November. A statement said: “This decision relates only to Mr Stanley Johnson and does not extend to his descendants.”
Stanley Johnson said he voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum. Vote Leave figurehead Boris Johnson led Britain out of the bloc at the end of 2020. However, Johnson Sr has since voiced support for Brexit.
The former MEP told PA Media on Friday: “I’m absolutely delighted and I have no idea at what level this decision was made, but I think it was a very imaginative thing to do at the moment. , at a time when relations with France and the EU are not necessarily the best. I think it’s very nice that the arms are outstretched in one way or another. I received a response in a word from Boris, who said: ‘Magnificent‘.”
The 81-year-old, born in Cornwall, was an MEP 40 years ago and was one of the first British civil servants to work in Brussels after Britain joined the EU – then to the European Economic Community – in 1973. He went to work for the European Commission.
Stanley Johnson said of his decision to apply for citizenship that “the most important reason was really sentimental”, as his mother was French.
He added: “It was a small gesture to say that while the UK may have left the EU, we have not actually left Europe. It’s a small gesture on my part that I certainly don’t see us as being left out of Europe and I would say realistically, as we look to the future and try to resolve these trade issues, the only way to solve them is to keep some degree of similarity between our two systems.
He joins thousands of Britons who have acquired EU citizenship since the Brexit vote. He had previously said: “It’s not about becoming French. If I understood correctly, I am French. My mother was born in France, her mother was entirely French, and her grandfather too. So for me, it’s about claiming what I already have.
He has also publicly stated: “I will always be European, that’s for sure. You cannot say to the English “You are not European”. Europe is more than the single market, it is more than the European Union. That said, having such a connection with the EU is important.
According to French law, foreigners with French parents can no longer claim French nationality if their family has been living abroad for more than 50 years without having exercised the rights linked to nationality. This is called the loss of nationality by disuseor disuse.
However, an article of the French civil code allows these people to recover French nationality by a simple declaration, subject to justifying “manifest cultural, professional, economic or family ties” with France or having fought for it. . It is on this basis that Johnson would have made a declaration of French nationality, reports Le Figaro.