Boris Johnson, has announced he will give up his US citizenship to prove his “commitment to Britain”. The Mayor of London described his dual nationality as an “accident of birth” caused by having been born in New York to British parents.
Johnson has pledged to contact the US Ambassador to Britain, Matthew Barzun, to begin the process of renouncing his American citizenship. The move will finally put paid to the rumours he wants to be British Prime Minister as a stepping stone to becoming US President. Johnson would be entitled to run for President because he was born on US soil.
Other dual nationals such as Arnold Schwarzenegger are disbarred because they were born abroad. The requirement to be born in the USA was created to prevent British royals from trying to become American President. Ironically Johnson is directly descended from King George II, who ruled much of the territories that now make-up the USA.
Being a US citizen has not all been plain sailing for Johnson, as he is required to pay federal taxes despite not having earned any money in the US. This tax rule is unique to the USA and has meant Johnson has fallen foul of the IRS without realising it in the past.
Johnson has threatened to give up his US citizenship before, notably in 2006 when he was told he could only travel around the country on his American passport. This time he claimed he would go through with becoming solely a British citizen, but did point out surrendering American nationality was a “laborious business, they don’t make it easy for you”.
Keeping the US passport may have made it harder to become British Prime Minister, as it creates a conflict of interest, albeit with the UK’s closest ally.