Some French people living in the UK no longer feel at home and may consider leaving due to changed attitudes following the Brexit vote says France's ambassador to the UK. Sylvie Bermann estimated 300,000 French people live in the UK, many highly skilled, but according to the ambassador there has been an increase in abuse since the 23 June referendum.
Addressing a House of Lords committee, Bermann said many French people living in Britain no longer felt at home. Instead, she claimed, they were beginning to feel like foreigners.
"The French community in the UK is worried and has a lot of questions," Bermann told the committee. "Worries because of the great uncertainty. Worried also because in the aftermath of the referendum some French nationals have been subjected to negative, aggressive language."
Many French citizens have lived and worked in the UK for decades, said Bermann as quoted by The Telegraph. But since the vote to leave the EU on 23rd June, they are viewing Britain differently. "Before June 23 they felt like Londoners, now they feel like foreigners. They had some very unpleasant remarks on the Tube. They feel uneasy, they feel uncomfortable."
Bermann was speaking as negotiations take place on the forthcoming status of EU citizens living in the UK when Britain withdraws from the EU.
Since the referendum, the number of suspected "hate crimes" has risen sharply, according to Home Office statistics. In July 2016 there were 5,468 such crimes reported, a 41% rise on July 2015.
However, some critics have cast doubt on the figures, saying they are unreliable and based on perception rather than reality. However, many hate crimes have been verified, including the murder of a Polish man in Harlow and anti-Polish leaflets distributed in Huntingdon.