Former Chair of Vote Leave campaign applies for ‘carte de sejour’ in France

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Nigel Lawson, has denied accusations of Brexit hypocrisy after it emerged he was in the process of applying for a French residency card.

The Tory former chancellor who chaired the Vote Leave campaign during the EU referendum said he had started the “tiresome” paperwork required to obtain a carte de sejour. Remain campaigners said Lord Lawson’s French residency application made him look “like a hypocrite”.

Earlier, Connexion, a newspaper for the English-speaking community in France, reported that Nigel Lawson, one of tens of thousands of Britons living in France,  started the process of applying for one of the cards, known as a carte de séjour, which British expatriates are being encouraged to obtain to help bolster their rights after the UK withdraws from the EU, but added that he was “not particularly worried”.

European officials have warned that Britain’s new blue passports could lead to travel delays and extra paperwork rather than the enhanced freedom promised by the government. Lawson, who lives in Gers, south-west France, told Connexion in 2016 that leaving the EU would not affect Britons’ fundamental rights but might mean extra paperwork. He said he considers the extra paperwork to be among certain ‘tiresome rather than serious’ impacts which Brexit may have on expats like himself.

He has told Connexion he has no regrets about Brexit despite living in France – and is applying for his carte de séjour. However he is confident Britons in France will be able to continue their lives without significant disruption and that Brexit will benefit the UK as long as future governments make good use of it.

This comes as the Interior Ministry has advised that Britons in France should apply for cartes de séjour now so as to minimise complications later on when it is expected that Britons will be obliged to have some form of card.