HL Deb 22 June 1977 vol 384 cc747-8WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

  1. (i) whether it is their intention that under the forthcoming nationality legislation, Commonwealth citizens who are settled in the United Kingdom should retain their existing freedoms to come and go, to vote, to stand for elective office and to work in the public service;
  2. (ii) what arrangements they intend to make under the forthcoming nationality law for Commonwealth citizens who are settled in the United Kingdom to register as British citizens, and in particular whether any such arrangements will be transitional or permanent; what criteria will have to be satisfied before an application for registration can be submitted, and whether the decision of the Secretary of State on any such application will be discretionary;
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  4. (iii) whether the status of British Subject will be retained under the forthcoming nationality law and if so, whether it will apply to British Citizens, British Citizens and British Overseas Citizens, or all Commonwealth Citizens;
  5. (iv) whether the rights of British Citizens, British Overseas Citizens and Commonwealth Citizens respectively will be defined under the forthcoming nationality law;
  6. (v) whether the inhabitants of the West Indian Associated States will acquire the status of British Overseas Citizens under the forthcoming nationality law;
  7. (vi) how many applications were made to the British High Commission in Singapore and Malaysia respectively in each of the last five years for passports by Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies resident in those countries;
  8. (vii) whether a person who acquires the status of British Citizen will be entitled to the issue of a passport, with a right of appeal to a court of law against refusal, revocation or withdrawal.


The Government made it clear in the recent Green Paper that they do not intend to introduce early legislation on nationality. Before reaching firm conclusions on the suggestions put forward in that document, including matters to which the noble Lord refers in paragraphs (i) to (v) and (vii) of his Question, they wish to have the benefit of comments by members of the public and interested bodies.

The numbers of United Kingdom passports issued by the British High Commissions in Singapore and Malaysia from 1972 to 1976, were as follows:-

1972 1973 1974 1975 1976
Singapore 1,576 1,641 2,038 2,316 2,000
Malaysia 694 595 750 880 870
It is not possible without undue expenditure of resources to say how many of these passports were issued to people resident in the two countries.