16:47 GMT +317 July 2018
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    A pedestrian shelters from the rain beneath a Union flag themed umbrella as they walk near the Big Ben clock face and the Elizabeth Tower at the Houses of Parliament in central London. (File)

    Ooh La La..Sacre Blue! Brits More Likely to Choose Ireland to Escape Brexit

    © AFP 2018 / JUSTIN TALLIS
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    The Great Escape, for many, was actor Steve McQueen's brave break for freedom from a prisoner-of-war camp on a motorbike. In a less dramatic twist, Brits are now seeking French citizenship to keep their European credentials after Brexit - although some may choose somewhere even closer, according to one UK political commentator.

    New figures have revealed the number of Brits seeking to obtain French citizenship has increased tenfold in the last three years as they strive to keep their European identity following the UK's departure from the European bloc.

    Statistics released by the French Interior Ministry have shown 1,518 Brits gained a French passport while a further 3,173 have also applied in 2017 and remain hopeful of being granted similar status in the coming months.

    Get me out of here!

    Although no official figures have, so far, been forthcoming it is understood significant numbers of Brits have also made requests in Spain, Portugal and Greece as they cite practical needs as being behind their decision to quit Britain for a new life within the European Union.

    Their decision does not surprise one influential British political commentator who believes many more will now give serious thought to leaving the UK as Brexit negotiations continue in the coming months ahead. 

    In an interview, Adam Garrie, director of Eurasia Future, thinks many families and individuals will actually look much closer to Britain — and opt to settle in Ireland.

    "My feeling is that it's always going to be a small number as the majority of people in the UK don't live in France, don't speak French, aren't ethnically French etc. Same with Spain and most other European countries," he told Sputnik.

    "The highest numbers for such instances will clearly be in respect of Ireland because a fairly large minority of people in the UK are of Irish background and maintain close family ties with relatives in the Republic of Ireland."

    ​Indeed, however there is hope for them, as free movement between UK and Ireland is set to stay there is nothing stopping Brits moving to Ireland for 5 years and then applying for citizenship that way. An inconvenience, yes but still an opportunity.

    The political commentator added: "Clearly, the phenomenon is symptomatic of people in the UK wanting to retain many aspects of life that have been implicit in EU membership. Additionally, as the quality of life in the UK declines, people will be looking for various other options and becoming citizens of other countries is clearly an option for some."

    Real losers

    It is the millions of people who cannot consider leaving Britain that Mr.Garrie feels for the most.  "The real story is that the poor, the working class, those with no 'plan B' are stuck in either low paying jobs, no jobs at all — and in the worse cases homelessness and untreated illness," he said, adding: "These people have no plan B, even if they do speak French or Spanish."

    Related:

    Number of Brits Applying for French Citizenship Soars Amid Brexit Concerns
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