§ 21. Mr. Parkin
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of a recent court decision in favour of a claimant to British nationality through descent from a woman, he will now introduce legislation giving British women the same right as British men to transmit their nationality to their children.
§ Mr. Parkin
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a resident in Paddington did not know until he had finished his National Service and applied for a passport that he was a stateless person? He was born of a British mother in France and no record of her marriage can be found. The result is that he has two small daughters of different nationality, as one of them happened to be born abroad. If the Electress Sophia can give nationality to the occupiers of the benches in another place, surely an ordinary electress of this country ought to be able to give her own nationality to her own child.
§ Mr. Butler
I sympathise very much but the facts are that the legislation in respect of the Electress Sophia was repealed in 1948 in respect of the 1st January, 1949, and therefore we start all square. In relation to the hon. Member's point, I realise the difficulty about illegitimate children born abroad, but the Secretary of State has power, under Section 7 of the British Nationality Act, 1948, to register such children as citizens of the United Kingdom and the Colonies whilst they are minors.
§ 28. Mr. Parkin
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what conclusions he has reached in regard to the recent court decision which enables British nationality to be claimed through descent from the Electress Sophia; and whether he will now introduce legislation to enable him to resist such claims in cases where the claimants have borne arms against this country.
§ Mr. R. A. Butler
This matter has received careful consideration and I do not think that any action is called for on my part.
§ Mr. Parkin
While agreeing that this is not as important as it sounds, may I ask the Home Secretary if there is any hope of its being a sufficient irritant in his Department to cause a review of the entire question of the naturalisation of aliens?
§ Mr. Butler
The latter point is rather a broader one than is that of the descendants of the Electress Sophia, who appear to be of the order of 400 persons. Whilst I should be glad to answer questions on the broader issue, I think it is as well to leave these 400 alone.