In a rare parting of families, Stanley Johnson, father of UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, has applied for French citizenship. Not only that, unlike his son, he had voted for the UK to remain in the European Union in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
In an interview in French to France’s RTL radio, Stanley who was even a member of the European Parliament between 1979 and 1984 from the Conservative Party, said: “It’s not about becoming French. If I understand correctly I am French! My mother was born in France, her mother was completely French as was her grandfather.” He further said during the interview: “I will always be European, that’s for sure. For me it’s a question of obtaining what I already have and I am very happy about that.”
The story about having differing views about Brexit does not end with Boris’ father. His brother Jo, a Conservative Party MP, to express support for stronger bonds with the Union, left a cabinet post in 2018.
His sister Rachel too, in protest against Brexit, left the Conservative Party in 2017 and joined the Liberal Democrats Party, the fourth most important party in the UK after the Tories, the Labour Party and the Scottish National Party.
Rachel has said that if her father gets the French citizenship, she too would apply for the same and become a French national.
It needs to be mentioned that the current UK PM’s family has an interesting story. Stanley’s paternal grandfather (Boris’ great grandfather), Ali Kemal Bey served as Minister of the Interior in the then Ottoman Turkey. Kemal was also a noted journalist and a liberal-leaning politician.
So a Prime Minister practising right-wing politics in the UK turns out to have quite different roots.