Leave doesn’t mean leave as Nigel Lawson plans UK return after failing to gain French residency
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Brexiteer politician Nigel Lawson is selling his house in France and is set to return to the UK - months after announcing he was planning to apply for French residency.
The former chancellor, chair of the Vote Leave campaign, and Conservative peer has been living in south west France in a mansion since 2001. He still returns to the UK to participate in House of Lords debates.
He sparked controversy last year when he announced he would be applying for a permanent French residency card known as a carte de séjour. That is despite advocating that the UK leaves the European Union.
But it has been reported that Lawson has not applied for residency with his local authority, the préfecture of the Gers, and there is no record of his application.
He told Connexion, a newspaper for the English community in France, that was he selling up and blamed 'French bureaucracy' for not yet receiving his card.
You may also want to watch:
'My house is on the market. It's well known that I live here, and when I've sold it I'll be moving back to where my children and grandchildren live.'
According to social media speculation, Lawson would have had to have become a tax resident in France to obtain residency, and such a move would have jeopardised his seat in the House of Lords.
- 1 Piers Morgan and Susanna Reid reject Boris Johnson's coronavirus claim
- 2 Nigel Farage reminded of claim that 'acid test of Brexit' surrounds fishing after clip resurfaces
- 3 Sky News presenter says Boris Johnson is 'gaslighting the nation' over Covid claims
- 4 Pro-Brexit fishing campaigner says Boris Johnson's deal has left her with 'no fish'
- 5 PMQs: Boris Johnson calls for apology from Keir Starmer over coronavirus stances
- 6 Home Office launches voluntary repatriation scheme for EU nationals
- 7 European parliament agrees to add British overseas territories to post-Brexit tax haven blacklist
- 8 Jeremy Corbyn loses bid to release Labour documents ahead of High Court battle
- 9 Boris Johnson is the 'worst PM' and should resign, says Alastair Campbell
- 10 Nicola Sturgeon tells Boris Johnson to 'work from home' instead as he plans trip to Scotland
A French Interior Ministry source told the newspaper that tax residency abroad would usually block someone from being considered an habitual resident of France - something that is necessary for obtaining a carte de séjour.
But Lawson insists that he had always considered returning to the UK.
He said the move for residency 'was not with a view to staying, but to make sure I have medical coverage while I'm [in France]'.
He claims that he continued to pay tax in the UK, and denies that Brexit impacted his application.
The former Vote Leave chair did, however, concede that Brexit is 'a complete mess' and that the prime minister's proposed Brexit deal is 'disastrous'.
Stephen Doughty MP, leading supporter of People's Vote, said that 'even the architects of Brexit are waking up to the reality of the mess Brexit has already created'.
'Lord Lawson considers Brexit to be a 'complete mess' and he's right. The leadership of the Leave campaign promised the British public we could retain all the benefits of our EU membership without shouldering any of the responsibilities.
'Now we know even Lord Lawson thinks Brexit is a mess but he still wants to deny the British public the democratic right to have the final say on what is being proposed. A People's Vote is the only way to resolve this national crisis. That's why huge numbers will be marching through London on March 23 demanding that Brexit is put to the people for the final say.'
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.