English MEP Charles Tannock described himself as a “pretty angry pro-European Tory” and a “passionate Remainer” today as he announced his decision.
The MEP for London, who had an Irish grandmother, said he had been devastated by the Leave victory in last June’s in-out European Union (EU) vote and has since received Irish citizenship.
He blasted Brexiteers as displaying “arrogance and hubris” as well as “petty nationalism” and “triumphalism”.
Mr Tannock told the Irish Times today his successful application for Irish citizenship had been sparked pure and simply by Brexit.
He said: “It has been awakened by Brexit because, to be honest, I am quite ashamed to be British in many ways.
“I feel more Irish than ever. I am very proud to be Irish. I am going on a pilgrimage with my mother because she has also just got an Irish passport.
“We are going on a mother and son pilgrimage to Dublin in the autumn to try and locate the house where her mother was born in 1895.”
He said his new citizenship would help him retain his European identity – as well as EU citizenship.
Mr Tannock said: “I wanted to feel fully European and be reassured I would remain an EU citizen. I was not getting it to use it now. It is more a statement of my EU and Irish heritage and loyalty.
“I believe that you can be loyal to more than one country, you can love different things in different ways. I love being European, I love being Irish, I love being British and I don’t see any incompatibility between them. Having an Irish passport made me feel a lot better psychologically to be honest.”
He said he would still prioritise his British citizenship and only use his new Irish identity when necessary. He did warn, however, about scrapping his British citizenship entirely if the Brexit process takes a nasty turn.
Mr Tannock said: “My view is that as long as I am an MEP, I will only use the Irish passport when I have not got my British passport. As a British MEP, my duty is to carry on travelling as a British citizen but I am seriously considering after Brexit about whether I will renew my British passport if we head in the very hostile direction towards the rest of Europe.”
Applications for Irish passports has soared since Brexit, with thousands of Britons applying in order to remain an EU member. During the first three months of this year more than 50,000 applications were made, compared to 30,000 for the whole of 2016.
Source : Express