UK ambassador to tour France to hear Brits’ Brexit worries

Britain's ambassador to France is to travel around the country to hold meetings with British residents to hear their concerns about Brexit and attempt to answer their questions. He can expect a real grilling.

UK ambassador to tour France to hear Brits' Brexit worries
Photo: AFP
Britain's envoy to France Lord Ed Llewllyn posted a message on the embassy's Facebook page telling British residents in France that can make their “concerns” known as a series of meetings to be held in November and December.
The ambassador and his team will be stopping off in Nice, the Var, Brittany, Paris and the Charente where they hope to answer questions from some of the 150,000 or so Brits who live in France.
“Over the last couple of months, I and my team have made it our priority to engage with British citizens across France on the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union,” writes the ambassador on Facebook.
“These engagements have given us the opportunity to update you on the ongoing negotiations – as you may know the fifth round recently concluded- and to hear your concerns and answer your questions.”
“Up until now, these events have been set-up in conjunction with British associations and organisations, who know their regions best and are already in touch with a large number of British residents.
This has worked well but I am aware, of course, that not everyone is part of an association. So we are planning for our next series of meetings, between now and Christmas, to be “open forum”. 
The list of meetings are as follows, along with links to the pages where readers can sign up to the event.
7 November – Nice
23 November – St Raphael (Var)
27 November – Brittany (Gouarec area – although location tbc)
6 December – Paris
11 December – Poitou Charentes (Civray/Ruffec area – although location tbc)
There may be limited space so those interested are asked to sign up as soon as possible.
The ambassador can expect to be told the main worries of Brits in France centre around their right to remain and work in France, reciprocal healthcare and pensions.
The ambassador can expect a rough ride if the reaction to a recent video posting is anything to go by.

“Words are easy Mr Ambassador, it is actions that count and so far we have seen nothing,” wrote Mike Harlow from Limousin.

“British citizens living in France and elsewhere in the 27 are petrified about their futures. The intransigence of the UK government is making people ill, we are being treated like bargaining chips, and at the moment our future is unclear until 2019.”



Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

A week after chaotic scenes and 6-hour queues at the port of Dover, the British motoring organisation the AA has issued an amber traffic warning, and says it expects cross-Channel ports to be very busy once again this weekend as holidaymakers head to France.

Amber alert: Travellers to France warned of another busy weekend at UK ports

The AA issued the amber warning on Thursday for the whole of the UK, the first time that it has issued this type of warning in advance.

Roads across the UK are predicted to be extremely busy due to a combination of holiday getaways, several large sporting events and a rail strike – but the organisation said that it expected traffic to once again be very heavy around the port of Dover and the Channel Tunnel terminal at Folkestone.

Last weekend there was gridlock in southern England and passengers heading to France enduring waits of more than six hours at Dover, and four hours at Folkestone.

The AA said that while it doesn’t expect quite this level of chaos to be repeated, congestion was still expected around Dover and Folkestone.

On Thursday ferry operator DFDS was advising passengers to allow two hours to get through check-in and border controls, while at Folkestone, the Channel Tunnel operators only said there was a “slightly longer than usual” wait for border controls.

In both cases, passengers who miss their booked train or ferry while in the queue will be accommodated on the next available crossing with no extra charge.

Last weekend was the big holiday ‘getaway’ weekend as schools broke up, and a technical fault meant that some of the French border control team were an hour late to work, adding to the chaos. 

But the underlying problems remain – including extra checks needed in the aftermath of Brexit, limited space for French passport control officers at Dover and long lorry queues on the motorway heading to Folkestone.

OPINION UK-France travel crisis will only be solved when the British get real about Brexit

The port of Dover expects 140,000 passengers, 45,000 cars and 18,000 freight vehicles between Thursday and Sunday, and queues were already starting to build on Thursday morning.