Vote Leave supremo application for French residency angers UK expats

Published:  1 Jun at 6 PM
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UK expat residents across France have reacted with fury over media broke the news of Nigel Lawson’s application for a French residence permit.

Nigel, now Lord Lawson, chaired the pro-Brexit Vote Leave campaign, even although he owned and lives in an 18th century mansion in the Gers region of France. UK residents across France along with campaign groups are now calling for the former politician‘s application to be refused by the French authorities. Lawson has never made a secret of his love for life in France, once telling reporters he lived in France because he loves Europe, but now seems to believe Brexit should happen no matter what the cost to the UK.

Anti Brexit campaign groups have made their views known to local media after regularly pointing out the former minister has taken full advantage of EU freedom of movement rights whilst working to take away the same freedoms from future generations of Britons. According to Debra Archer, speaking for the Remain in France Together group, he’s assuring expats there’s no cause for concern as life will go on as usual, whilst ensuring he’s covered his own back by applying for a carte de sejour. Archer believes Lawson may be expecting the UK to crash out of the European Union without a deal or citizens’ rights agreement, or may even feel insecure enough to get an EU document proving his residency as he’s not relying on the UK government to secure the essential rights.

Lawson’s statements to the press seem to suggest the red tape resulting from a hard Brexit would only involve tiresome bureaucracy rather than serious problems for expats. According to the politician, his American friends who stay in France from time to time find the situation ‘perfectly tolerable’. One British expat living in the Dordogne told reporters it’s Lawson’s casual, blasé attitude that's generating anger amongst France’s UK expat community.

Whilst the man’s wealth and privilege protects him from the disruption, anxiety and fear felt by everyday Brits living in the country year on year, the majority of UK nationals in France are now struggling to assemble the reams of documents necessary for the process. Up until now, Brit expats in a number of regions have been turned away after being told registration isn’t necessary until Brexit is finalised, whilst the French government is actually encouraging applications to avoid a rush early next year.
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