Boris Johnson’s father is trying to get a French passport after Brexit, he revealed today on the eve of the UK’s departure from the bloc after more than four decades.
In an embarrassing development for the Prime Minister, Stanley Johnson confirmed he he was in the process of applying for citizenship in the country of his mother’s birth.
Mr Johnson, 80, a former member of the European Parliament who voted Remain in Britain’s 2016 referendum, told RTL radio he wanted to become a French citizen because of his strong family links to France.
The Prime Minister’s great grandmother was Marie-Louise de Pfeffel, a French woman who married his great-grandfather Stanley Williams.
Their daughter Irene – known to the PM as Granny Butters – married into the Johnson family and was Stanley Johnson’s mother.
‘If I understand it correctly, I am French. My mother was born in France, her mother was totally French as was her grandfather. So for me it is about reclaiming what I already have. And that makes me very happy,’ Stanley told the radio station in French.
‘I will always be a European, that’s for sure. One cannot tell the British people: you are not Europeans. Having a tie with the European Union is important.’
Stanley Johnson confirmed he he was in the process of applying for citizenship in the country of his mother’s birth to maintain his ties with the European Union after Brexit
Stanley Johnson (pictured in 1980) was a Conservative MEP from 1979 to 1984
Stanley Johnson (third from right) in 1999 with Boris (third from left) and his other children in 1999
The Prime Minister’s great grandmother was Marie-Louise de Pfeffel, a French woman who married his great-grandfather Stanley Williams (pictured together around 1905)
Their daughter Irene – known to the PM as Granny Butters – was born in France and married into the Johnson family. She was Stanley Johnson’s mother
Boris Johnson was the public face of the Leave campaign in the 2016 referendum and says Britain can ‘prosper mightily’ as a fully sovereign nation outside what he sees as an overly bureaucratic EU.
Last year, during his Tory leadership campaign he revealed that while Stanley backed Remain, his mother Charlotte voted for Brexit.
In the run-up to the referendum, The PM’s father repeatedly attacked his son’s stance on Brexit, saying staying the bloc was crucial for stopping climate change.
But the following year he announced he has switched sides to back Brexit after taking fright at Jean-Claude Juncker’s federalist vision.
Stanley Johnson said a recent speech by the then European Commission president convinced him the EU was moving ‘at an ever-increasing speed in a direction we really don’t want to go’.
The PM’s younger sister Rachel is also a Brexiteer who stood unsuccessfully to be an MEP for Change UK last year.
His bother Jo quit the Government over Brexit after backing a second referendum and stood down as Tory MP for Orpington at the 2019 election.
Stanley Johnson campaigning for his son during the Tory leadership election in 2019
On Wednesday the Prime Minister sounded a more conciliatory note as parliament approved a new trade deal with the EU, saying: ‘This is not the end of Britain as a European country. We are in many ways the quintessential European civilisation… and we will continue to be that.’
The United Kingdom officially leaves the EU’s orbit tonight after an often strained 48-year liaison with the European project.
Mr Johnson senior’s admission is the latest embarrassing incident that has taken place during his son’s time in No 10.
In June he faced fury after he flew to his Greek villa in brazen defiance of pandemic travel warnings.
The Mail revealed he jetted to his four-bed home – ignoring Foreign Office guidance at the time which recommended no one should travel unless it was essential.
The former Tory Euro-MP dodged Greece’s ban on direct flights from the UK by flying from Luton to Athens via Bulgaria, sharing videos and images of his journey on Instagram.
Stanley Johnson posted a selfie on his Instagram feed during his trip to Greece on Wednesday
Mr Johnson travelled to his mountain retreat in Pelion, outside Athens, pictured, where he claimed he was making it Covid secure ahead of the letting season for holiday makers
Mr Johnson flew via Sofia, Bulgaria to avoid Greece’s ban on direct flights from the UK
Speaking from his mountain-view villa in Pelion – which he lets out to tourists – Mr Johnson said Greek officials were happy to allow him in and the ban only seemed to apply to ‘bulk arrivals’ of British holidaymakers. MPs said the incident ‘stinks of one rule for them and another rule for the rest of us’ and claimed it echoed No 10 aide Dominic Cummings’ infamous lockdown trip to Barnard Castle.