THE UK Government’s promises that no EU nationals will have to quit Britain because of Brexit look flimsy following the case of Francoise Milne, wife of the head of the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh.

Her husband Simon – a member of the honorary Queen’s Bodyguard and a Royal Marines officer for 20 years – hit out yesterday at what he called an “extraordinary decision” to refuse his wife of 24 years and the mother of their three children, who are all UK citizens, a residency card.

Simon Milne, 58, who is also an honorary professor of Edinburgh University and an MBE, said he was “flabbergasted” by the government’s decision in October that his wife was not “self sufficient” enough to gain a card.

The case was raised in parliament by their local MP, the SNP’s Deidre Brock.

Brock told the House of Commons that Milne “is French and has lived in the UK – mainly in Scotland – for 24 years. She has been married to a Scot for those 24 years and they have three children together.”

She added: “She has been refused a residency card for not exercising her treaty rights. She maintained the family home and reared three children while her husband served in the Marines, including on tours of duty in Bosnia and in Northern Ireland.

“He spent more than two decades in service and rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel. He is a member of the Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms, which is perhaps more commonly known as the Queen’s Bodyguard. The Home Office says that his wife cannot prove that she can support herself. Her husband’s income and her smaller income together provide the matrimonial home and family life.

“The love and support she has provided for her husband helped him in his service. The idea that she not been exercising her treaty rights is ludicrous. I have written to ministers and await an answer, but hers is not the only case that I have been asked to help with.”

Later in the debate, Brock said: “I have constituents who are living in fear of the state. Members should consider that: a modern state – a supposed democracy – where people live in fear of its actions. All these people, who are making our communities better places to live, are swinging in the wind because this government are in thrall to a xenophobic wing of the Conservative Party and a right-wing, anti-foreigner media.”

Simon Milne told reporters yesterday: “With the uncertainty around Brexit at the moment, my wife decided to apply for permanent residency. She has supported me through my career with the Royal Marines and now in my current role.

“I am flabbergasted with this decision, I am angry and frustrated. I can only hope that it is an unintended oversight.”

Francoise Milne said: “I never felt I needed to claim dual nationality before; I could move about freely and work freely. Now it feels like a lot of freedom has gone. They will not take into account that I am married to a British man, that is irrelevant. It’s hard to believe.”

The UK Government has said a new scheme will be available for EU citizens and their family members to apply to stay in the UK after Brexit.