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Anger among Brits in France after Brexit champion Lord Lawson applies for residency

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Anger among Brits in France after Brexit champion Lord Lawson applies for residency
Nigel Lawson. Photo: AFP
11:39 CEST+02:00
The news that Lord Lawson, a long-time British immigrant in France and leading Brexit campaigner has applied for a carte de séjour residency permit has provoked anger among UK residents on this side of the channel.

Lawson, former chairman of the Vote Leave pro-Brexit campaign, who lives in the Gers department of the south west, has like, many Britons living in France, moved to secure his status on this side of the Channel given all the uncertainty provoked by Brexit.

Lawson, who lives permanently in the 18th century country house he owns, told The Connexion newspaper that he is applying for a carte de séjour - which is considered the best way Britons can secure their futures in France before Brexit.

Lawson, who once said "I love Europe, that's why I live in France' believes Britain's exit from the EU should come at any cost.

He told The Connexion that the extra red tape Brits in France will have to overcome because of Brexit was "tiresome" rather than "serious".

"There may be a few bureaucratic hoops to be gone through, which are tiresome, but I don’t think it’s a serious problems," he said.

“I know Americans who live for varying lengths of time in France and they find things perfectly tolerable.”

But news of the Brexiteer's carte de séjour application did not go down well among some Brits in France where there was even talk of setting up petitions to try to persuade French authorities to turn down his application. Many hoped Lawson's local prefecture in Auch simply turn his application down.

The former UK chancellor has long provoked the wrath of those against Brexit who have regularly pointed out that Lawson took advantage of the EU's freedom of movement to move to France but then wanted to take it away from future generations.

Debra Archer from the Remain in France Together anti-Brexit group summed up why many were angry.

"He lives in France and benefits from the EU and yet he advocated for the UK to leave it," she told The Local.

"He assures us there is no reason to worry and we will be able to continue life as before - and yet he is applying for a carte de séjour to make sure his residence here is documented before the UK leaves.

"Does this mean he expects the UK to crash out with no deal and no citizens' rights agreement or is it just that he feels insecure along with the rest of us and would rather have an EU document to prove his rights than rely on the UK government to secure them?"

Lawson, who once said "I love Europe, that's why I live in France' believes Britain's exit from the EU should come at any cost but told The Connexion newspaper that the extra red tape Brits in France will have to overcome because of Brexit was "tiresome rather than serious".

"There may be a few bureaucratic hoops to be gone through, which are tiresome, but I don’t think it’s a serious problem.

“I know Americans who live for varying lengths of time in France and they find things perfectly tolerable.”

Russell Hall, who lives in the Dordogne added: "What annoys so many of us is his extraordinarily blasé and casual attitude. Perhaps his wealth and privilege protect him from the chaos and disruption that will affect so many more humble Brits who have chosen to live in France, either full time or part of each year.

"It beggars belief that as many of those seeking a carte de séjour in France struggle to satisfy the many criteria and to assemble the substantial documentation in support of their application, Lord Lawson airily dismisses their concerns, saying he is "not particularly worried. It comes under the category of tiresome rather than serious."

Read Also: 'Brexpats' in France - which group do you belong to?

Brits seeking permanent residency in France told 'come back after Brexit'

Lawson's fellow British nationals living in France have been rushing to acquire the residency permits which, although not obligatory given they are still EU citizens, is seen as one way of avoiding future paperwork and red tape once Britain leaves the EU.

The Local reported previously how some departments in France were turning Brits away telling them there was no need to apply until Britain officially left the EU.

According to campaigners France's Ministry of Interior has since issued a reminder to all prefectures around France that Britons have the right to apply and their applications should not be turned away. The Ministry encouraged Britons to apply now to avoid the rush further down the line.

Brits who are in France and those who arrive before the end of the Brexit "transition period" in December 2020 have been told they will have the right to stay in France but they, like EU citizens in the UK, may be forced to apply for some kind of "settled status" residency permit.

Lawson isn't actually alone in being a Brexit supporting Brit who is living in France. 

While happily choosing to live in France and within the EU but voting for Britain to be independent might seem like a contradiction to many, things are a little more complicated than that.
 
Many Brits in France voted to leave the EU, much to the anger and confusion of remain supporters.
 
 

Abused, shunned but unfazed: What it's like being a Brexit-supporting Brit in France

 

 

 
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Peter Smith - 31 May 2018 14:37
This is the man who led the UK economy into its subsequent mess after Black Wednesday. Beware of giving him the right to stay in France. Adders have the reputation of biting twice. Let him stay in his own country, as he seems to hate the EU with such venom as to try and deprive those of us who consider ourselves European of our continuing rights. We had been real Europeans for too long to have a vote in the referendum, which has put our future in jeopardy. Yet another Brexiteer who thinks that life will go on as before, but presumably is benefitting from a fat pension from his dismal time as UK Chancellor. I hope his application is refused; it is gross hypocrisy.
Nick Parsons - 31 May 2018 18:53
What hypocritical garbage. People don’t only vote out of narrow self interest. I would have voted out, if I had a vote, because I think it best for the UK and France, where I enjoy living. I have also got a carte de sejour - that’s the advice of the ministry
Daniela - 31 May 2018 18:55
I don't understand why any British person living anywhere in Europe voted for Brexit.
You either want to be part of Europe or you don't. If you don't, then get out of the EU, go back to Britain, and leave the rest of us Europeans alone. As Peter Smith mentioned (above), it is gross hypocrisy! You voted for the UK to be away from the EU's "problems", but yet you continue to live here in the EU with it's "problems".
I really hope this Lawson guy doesn't get accepted in France; he doesn't deserve to live in this beautiful country. Go back to your home!
Charles - 03 Jun 2018 21:37
I had no time for him when he was Chancellor, I have even less time for him now. His sheer arrogance and feeling of self-entitlement gives us Brits in France a bad image. I've already had to try and explain his absurd position to some of my French friends who simply cannot understand his crass hypocricy.
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