The father of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he intends to apply for French citizenship in light of the United Kingdom's final transition out of the European Union.
Stanley Johnson, in an interview broadcast hours before the post-Brexit trade deal between the EU and the UK takes effect Thursday night, told a French radio station he "will always be European."
"It's not a question of becoming French. If I understood correctly, I am French," said the elder Johnson, a former member of the European Parliament. "My mother was born in France, her mother was entirely French as was her grandfather.
"So for me it's a question of reclaiming what I already have. Therefore, I am very happy."
Britain officially leaves the EU's single market and customs union at 6 p.m. ET — 11 p.m. in London — New Year's Eve. That's the result of a last-minute agreement between the two sides.
When the new year starts, most Britons will lose the ability to freely work and travel around the EU’s 27 nations.
Stanley Johnson insisted Brexit will not end his European identity.
"I will always be European, that's for sure. One cannot tell the English people: 'You're not European,'" Johnson said. "Europe is always more than the common market, it is more than the European Union. But that being said, yes, having such a link with the European Union is important."
Brexit has dominated British politics since the country's narrow vote to leave the bloc in June 2016.
Britain officially left the EU on Jan. 31 but has been in a standstill transition period during argumentative talks to secure a free-trade agreement with Brussels. A deal was finalized on Dec. 24.
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