Stanley Johnson, the father of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has said that he intends to obtain French citizenship — his comments coming just hours before the UK’s final transition out of the European Union.
Johnson, a former Member of the European Parliament, told French radio station RTL he “will always be European” in an interview aired on Thursday.
“It’s not a question of becoming French. If I understood correctly, I am French,” he told RTL in French, highlighting his family’s link with the country.
“My mother was born in France, her mother was entirely French as was her grandfather. So for me it’s a question of reclaiming what I already have,” he said of the decision to become a French citizen. “Therefore, I am very happy.”
Britain officially leaves the EU’s single market and customs union when the transition period ends at 11 p.m. GMT (6 p.m. ET) on New Year’s Eve.
The post-Brexit trade deal between the EU and the UK comes into force at that time, after the two sides agreed to a last-minute agreement. But most Britons will start 2021 by losing their ability to freely work and travel around the 27-nation bloc.
Stanley Johnson insisted that Brexit will not mark the end of European identity for him or the English people. “I will always be European, that’s for sure. One cannot tell the English people: ‘You’re not European’,” Johnson told RTL.
“Europe is always more than the common market, it is more than the European Union,” he added. “But that being said, yes, having such a link with the European Union is important.”
The Prime Minister’s father has frequently found himself in the headlines since his son began his period in office. In July, he was criticized for traveling to Greece while the UK was in lockdown. And last December — on the night his son won a landslide election — Stanley Johnson was accused of making an Islamophobic remark on television.