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Blow for Brits in France as 'Brexit minister' quits French government

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Blow for Brits in France as 'Brexit minister' quits French government
France's Europe Minister Natalie Loiseau has quit the government. Photo: AFP
09:08 CET+01:00
France's unofficial 'Brexit minister' has quit the French government leaving Britons in the country wondering who will replace the woman who was behind the country's no-deal Brexit bill and who was considered supportive of the rights of Brits to stay in the country.

Europe minister Natalie Loiseau, a fluent English speaker, is one of three minister who quit the French government on Wednesday, President Emmanuel Macron's office said, as they prepared to run in upcoming European and municipal elections.

The departures bring to 10 the number of ministers to have left Macron's centrist government since he took office in 2017.

READ ALSO: France's Europe minister 'names her cat Brexit because he is reluctant to leave'

A presidential statement announced the departure of Europe minister Nathalie Loiseau, head of the list for Macron's party in the May European elections, as well as junior ministers Benjamin Griveaux and Mounir Mahjoubi who are both planning to run for mayor of Paris in 2020.

The presidency has given no indication on their possible successors.

Campaigners for Britons in France will be keeping a close eye on who is named to replace Loiseau who in an interview with The Local this year expressed her support for Britons worried about the impact of Brexit.

She said Brits were a "priority" for the French government and that in the case of a no deal Brexit they will be given enough time to secure their status.

"We want them to stay. We want them to be able to work, study or be retired here," she said.

Although Loiseau's eventual no-deal bill hardly calmed the fears of Britons, Loiseau was considered capable and supportive by campaigners and regularly spoke up for Brits. She held a Facebook Q&A that gave Brits the chance to pose their questions directly to the minister.

Kalba Meadows from Remain in France Together said the timing of the resignation - with so much uncertainty around the outcome of Brexit and no-deal still a possibility - wasn't ideal.

Loiseau's replacement is expected to be announced by Monday, the date of Macron's next cabinet meeting.

Macron's Europe adviser Clement Beaune is said to be in line to replace Loiseau in the ministerial role, a key post in communicating France's position on the fraught Brexit negotiations.

Among other ministers to have left Macron's government previously were Nicolas Hulot, who quit as ecology minister last year accusing Macron of not giving priority to environmental reforms.

 
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