Vote Leave chairman Nigel Lawson applies for residency in France
Former Conservative chancellor sparks anger by submitting request for ‘carte de séjour’
The former chairman of Vote Leave has been branded a hypocrite after it emerged he has applied for permanent residency in France.
Nigel Lawson, who served as chancellor under Margaret Thatcher and now lives in southern France, has submitted a request for a “carte de séjour”, which guarantees the rights of UK citizens by showing they are legally resident in the country.
Speaking to English-language French newspaper, ConnexionFrance, Lawson said he was “not concerned” about the impact of post-Brexit EU immigration controls on British expats, claiming it repressented a “tiresome rather than serious” obstacle.
The Independent says “expats have been urged to acquire the papers to avoid complications after Brexit”, but there have already been reports of some Britons in France facing problems or concerns around the paperwork and criteria required for obtaining a residency card.
The former Conservative MP “has been ridiculed by opponents of Brexit”, says The Guardian, for his eagerness to “free the UK from the perceived shackles of Brussels while continuing to live in a mansion in Gascony”.
In an interview with the paper just before the 2016 referendum, Lawson confessed his love for Europe, claiming “that’s why I live in France”.
However, the latest development appears to have been a step too far for some.
Paul Butters, chairman for the pro-EU campaign group Best For Britain, branded the former chancellor a “hypocrite”, saying the idea that the chairman of Vote Leave has applied for residency in France “takes the biscuit”.
“It seemed to Lawson that no cost was not worth paying to leave,” he said, “but with this news, it seems the cost will be paid by others while the former chancellor suns himself in his luxury home in France.”
Meanwhile, anti-Brexit expat group Remain in France Together suggested Lawson should have his application rejected because of his role in the Brexit campaign.
“I hope his application gets put to the bottom of the pile or falls down the back of the stove,” it said. “Perhaps we should all write to the Préfecture in Auch, pointing out that as the Vote Leave chairman, the man is responsible for destroying the lives of thousands of British migrants in France.”