Germany’s only Scottish mayor set to lose job on Brexit day

Written by Gemma Fraser on 25 April 2019 in News

Despite being married to a German woman and having lived in the country for more than 40 years, Iain Macnab will be stripped of his post

Image credit: PA

A Scottish mayor of a small German village is set to be stripped of his post after Brexit.

Iain Macnab has been the mayor of Brunsmark in the state of Schleswig-Holstein in north west Germany for 11 years, having lived there since 1988.

But he was told by the government in Kiel that he would not be able to stay in office post-Brexit.

He will also lose his EU citizenship and will have to apply for a German residency permit.

Macnab told German news website The Local: “I got a letter in December from the government in Kiel telling me that I would stay in office until March 29th [the original Brexit day] with the qualification that if Brexit is put off then you will remain in office until Brexit actually happens.

“It’s a bit strange having served the community for so long. I’ve been in the volunteer fire brigade for 25 years and on the local council for 16 years. You feel… well that’s it, but what can you do?”

Macnab was born in Dundee and grew up in the Highland village of Achiltibuie but had the right to stand for election at the local level of German government as an EU citizen.

As he is married to a German national, he is eligible for German citizenship, but Macnab said: “I’ve been Scottish for 70 years, why change now?”

Macnab, who runs his own IT firm in Brunsmark, was responsible for bringing high-speed broadband to his village, which is unusual in rural Germany.

He told The Local: “It certainly raised a lot of eyebrows that a Scottish person was running for mayor. But it’s amazing how much support I get nowadays.

“People have learned that, whether you are my friend or not, if you deal with me in my official capacity I’ll treat you exactly the same.”

Macnab said the villagers of Brunsmark still believe there will be a second referendum and he will therefore remain as mayor – or ‘Bürgermeister’.

“They don’t believe that the British could be so stupid [as to leave] so they say ‘you’re still going to be Bürgermeister’. They think there’ll be a second referendum and that it’ll all end well.”

Macnab trained as a journalist and worked for the Perthshire Advertiser before emigrating to Hamburg in the 1970s.

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