HC Deb 29 July 1914 vol 65 cc1482-3

(1) Where an alien obtains a certificate of naturalisation, the Secretary of State may, if he thinks fit, on the application of that alien, include in the certificate the name of any child of the alien born before the date of the certificate and being a minor, and that child shall thereupon, if not already a British subject, become a British subject; but any such child may, within one year after attaining his majority, make a declaration of alienange, and shall thereupon cease to be a British subject.

(2) The Secretary of State may, in his absolute discretion in any special case in which he thinks fit, grant a certificate of naturalisation to any minor, although the conditions required by this Act have not been complied with.

(3) Except as provided by this Section, a certificate of naturalisation shall not be granted to any person under disability.


I beg to move, in Sub-section (1) to leave out the words "may, if he thinks fit," and to insert instead thereof the word "shall."

When an alien obtains a naturalisation certificate all his children become naturalised, and their names are inserted in the certificate. That is a valuable provision, because it is important to know whom you have naturalised, and it is of great importance to the children when they have to prove that they are British subjects. The object of my Amendment is to provide that instead of giving the Home Secretary a discretion in regard to the children as to whether he will include their names in the certificate, he shall, if he gives a naturalisation certificate to the father, enter the names of the children upon the certificate.


I beg to second the Amendment. As the Home Secretary has told us that he sees no objection to the children becoming British subjects one year after they have attained their majority, I hope he will see his way to accept this Amendment, which is regarded as a very valuable one in the East End of London. There is no reason why, if a father chooses to become a British subject, it should not be the law that his children should also become British subjects, without leaving it to the Home Secretary to decide whether or not they should be admitted.


I can assure my hon. Friend and the hon. Member opposite that the Secretary of State would in every case include all the children in the certificate except in such a case where if this Amendment were accepted he would find himself compelled to refuse the father because the child ought not to be admitted. My hon. Friend would really do harm to the cause he desires to further by this Amendment. If the Secretary of State on naturalising the father is compelled to accept all the children, his only remedy may be to refuse to naturalise the father who, on other grounds, ought to be naturalised. In practice this discretion, except in such cases as I have described, would always be exercised in favour of including all the children.


If the right hon. Gentleman says the Amendment would endanger the naturalisation of the father, I will not press the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.