§ 21. Mr. Wilkinson
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will now introduce comprehensive legislation to reform the British laws on citizenship and related matters.
§ 23. Mr. David Steel
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will undertake a comprehensive review of the law relating to citizenship and nationality.
§ Mr. R. Carr
I am considering whether any changes should be proposed in our nationality law. It is a complicated matter, and I cannot at present say what conclusions will be reached.
§ Mr. Wilkinson
May I draw the Home Secretary's attention to the debate that took place yesterday in the House of Lords which bears some relevance to this problem and also, in particular, to the situation of East Europeans who came here as refugees after the Second World War and who, because—like some Commonwealth citizens—they wished to return to their country of origin, retained their original nationality but did not enjoy the same rights in Great Britain as Commonwealth citizens?
§ Mr. Kenneth Lewis
Although there may be a case for doing nothing and making no change, many people believe that such an approach would not be correct. If it is necessary to make a change will the Home Secretary therefore agree that it should be done quickly?
§ Mr. Carr
There is no question of delay for delay's sake. It is a difficult matter, and therefore unlikely to be solved in a short time, however much speed we try to make about it. I can, however, say that we shall not waste any time. But it is a complicated and difficult matter, which may also involve other countries.
Mr. J. T. Price
Is the Home Secretary advised properly by his Department about this? Those of us who are interested in the question have repeatedly pointed out to him and to the Foreign Office that the British Nationality Act 1948 is an absurd statute, in terms of today's practice. It not only inflicts difficulties and problems for people not born here; it inflicts grave hardship on British subjects who were born overseas of British parents and are now in trouble with the passport authorities, and are having their British citizenship challenged? Is it not offensive to any hon. Member who has feeling for his country that the British subject is told that he must consult the Government of Barbados or some other ex-Colony before being issued with a passport, especially where that man has served in the British Army?