Brit ambassador faces furious expats at Paris Brexit meet

Published:  13 Apr at 6 PM
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Angry British expats based in Paris gave British Ambassador Edward Llewellyn a hard time during a scheduled Brexit meetup.

The meeting was intended as an update on the progress of Brexit negotiations as regards UK expats’ rights, but an audience of furious British citizens had other ideas. In the 18th century British Embassy building, chaos reigned for a full two hours as Brits had their say, shouted and heckled over the content of the Ambassador’s carefully-prepared speech emphasising ‘considerable progress’ in the negotiations. After the meeting ended, one attendee working at senior level in a Paris-based international consumer brand company told the British media he’d expected to be reassured by the ambassador but is now terrified about his future.

According to Llewellyn, Theresa May is prioritising UK expats’ rights post-Brexit, with the statement met by ironic laughter and heckling from the room. One man yelled, ‘feel the temperature in the room’. When asked whether a second referendum is on the cards, the ambassador unequivocally stated that the option is not government policy, with his comment drawing gasps of surprise from listeners as the exchange was decidedly political rather than diplomatic.

One woman requested details from an official working with the Department for Exiting the European Union about French inheritance laws and their application to expat children born in the country. His reply began with ‘not within my scope’, but was interrupted by the questioner who told him ‘Just say you don’t know’. The questioner also wanted details about future EU research funding in France for a French-born PhD student now studying at a British university. After the meeting ended she told reporters the only way forward for her is to apply for French nationality.

Another furious British expat married to a New Zealander told the ambassador his New Zealand-born children’s rights as well as his and his wife’s are being flushed down the toilet simply to save the Tory party. The meeting attracted some 60 Brits, all of whom came armed with questions broadly based on freedom of movement, employment rights and post-Brexit rights to remain for themselves and their families. Some 100,000 Britons are living in France, all of whom have the same or similar concerns, with this latest effort by uninformed British diplomatic officials doing nothing to ease the situation.
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