French officials vow to ignore campaign to block Lord Lawson’s residency request

French authorities have said they will ignore the campaign against Lord Lawson's application for a carte de sejour residency permit after an online petition gathered almost 2,000 signatures and one angry Briton called the prefecture.

French officials vow to ignore campaign to block Lord Lawson's residency request
Photo: AFP

Lord Lawson, the former chair of the Vote Leave pro-Brexit campaign and a long-time immigrant in France, has like many of the 150,000 Brits in France, decided to apply for a carte de séjour residency permit.

The permit, which is not obligatory for Brits, is seen as a way of avoiding complications and paperwork after Brexit, but news of Lawson's application led to accusations of “hypocrisy” among remain voters in France and Britain.

A petition has since been set up asking French President Emmanuel Macron to turn down Lawson's application.

The campaign launched on the Petition Site had garnered almost 2,000 signatures by Monday morning.

A statement on the site reads: “To President Macron.

“We, the disempowered Remain voters of the UK, aggrieved by the outcome of the EU Ref, which has denied us the right to live and work freely across the EU, ask the President to deny a carte de séjour to Nigel Lawson after the UK leaves the EU. 

“As responsible citizens of the EU, we are mindful that the rank hypocrisy of Lord Lawson, chairman of the 'Vote Leave' campaign makes him an unsuitable candidate for French residency and he should therefore be returned to the UK. We do not wish to inflict his person on our good French neighbours.”

Comments by some of those who had signed summed up much of the anger towards the Brexiteer.

“Nigel Lawson is a hypocrite. As a leading Brexiteer he should remain in the UK and face the destruction he and his ilk have caused to the UK economy,” read one.

Angry tweeters also tried to get campaigns going on Twitter under various hashtags in a bid to pressure French authorities to turn down his application.

Some residents have even taken the step of calling Lawson's local prefecture in the Gers department urging officials to reject his application, which they have not yet received.

However a spokesperson for the Gers prefecture, located in the town of Auch, told The Local that all opposition to Lord Lawson's application would, as expected, be ignored.

“We did receive a call saying we shouldn't give him a residency permit but don't take this into account,” the spokesperson said. “Each citizen has the right to apply.

“We respect the rules and the guidelines [of the application process] and don't take into account calls from people who say you shouldn't give him a titre de séjour (residency permit).”

Lord Lawson himself responded to the furore around his intended application by telling the BBC: “It is well known that I live in France and have done so for many years and have referred to this in the House of Lords and elsewhere.

“It was the French authorities who told me that I should apply for a carte de séjour. Nothing else has changed.”

Brits in France are now being urged to apply for a carte de séjour by campaigners, France's Ministry of Interior and the British Embassy in Paris.

It is believed that possession of one will help avoid problems, paperwork and a lot of time and hassle when Britain does eventually leave the EU (see link below for more details).

READ ALSO: Why Brits in France should apply fora Carte de Séjour right now

Brexit: Why Brits in France should apply for a carte de séjour right now




Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


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.