HC Deb 15 July 1890 vol 346 cc1717-9

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read the third time."

(3.5.) MR. COURTNEY (Cornwall, Bodmin)

I desire to call the attention of the House to this Bill, although I have already made a special Report upon it, which has been circulated with the Votes, but which, I am afraid, may have escaped the attention of hon. Members. It will be within the knowledge of the House that at one time naturalisation could only be accomplished by an Act of Parliament, just as divorce could only be obtained by an Act of Parliament. But the law of divorce was altered, and so, also, has been that of naturalisation, an Act having been passed to enable foreigners, who desire to be naturalised, to obtain a certificate from the Home Secretary, after a residence of five years, and after giving satisfactory guarantees in regard to conduct. That is the usual process adopted in regard to naturalisation; but from time to time cases arise in which applications are made for naturalisation in accordance with the old process of proceeding by Act of. Parliament, in which the applicant has not resided here for five years. Acts have accordingly been passed enabling persons who have not resided here for five years to obtain naturalisation. The two cases now before the House are cases, of that kind. In the first, Madame Martin has resided here for a little over two years. By birth she is a Spaniard, and she married a Spaniard, who went to reside in France, and became a naturalised Frenchman. Since then she has become a widows and she has resided in this country for two years. She now desires to obtain naturalisation. She is not an old woman, but she is prudent, and is anxious that, in the event of her death, and the disposition of her property, there shall be no dispute as to her nationality. Madame Martin is now a widow living in England. The point is -whether the Legislature, having prescribed a general law, an Act of Parliament should step in giving facilities to persons who are rich enough to obtain naturalisation before the five years have elapsed. I have, therefore, thought it desirable to call the attention of the House to the matter. In the second case, the applicant desires to become a partner in a City firm, and he cannot do so until he becomes an Englishman. He has only lived in the country for 18 months. In each instance the character of the applicant, as far as I can ascertain, is unexceptionable. In order that the House may have an opportunity of considering the matter, I move the adjournment of the Debate until Friday. In the mean time, any hon. Member who is interested in the matter can devote his attention to it, and see whether it deserves any further action or protest.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Debate be now adjourned."—(Mr. Courtney.)

*(3.10.) MR. BRADLAUGH (Northampton)

Although the case of Madame Martin is quite new to me, I should like to say a few words upon it. I think the question has already been decided in the case of "Laneuville v. Anderson," in which the question of domicile in connection with a testamentary disposition of property was discussed by the House of Lords at full length. The effect of that decision is that it is not necessary for an individual to be naturalised, if he or she intends to settle here. I would suggest, therefore, that there is not sufficient reason for an Act of Parliament, as naturalisation could be effected in due course otherwise that on the grounds for which it is now asked. I do not wish to stand in the way of these Bills, but it seems to me that when a general naturalisation law has been passed, there ought not to be exceptions.


I wish to direct attention to the fact that this lady is possessed of real property in France, and is considered to be a French subject. It is unnecessary to remind the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Bradlaugh) that the law of France deals with real property in a special manner.


The case of "Laneuville and Anderson," of which I have been speaking, was exactly a case in point.

Question, "That the Debate be now adjourned," put, and agreed to.

Debate adjourned till Friday.

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