HC Deb 15 November 1945 vol 415 cc2304-5
23. Mrs. Ayrton Gould

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, at an early date, he will make provision for British women who married aliens before 1931 to regain their British nationality.

28. Mr. P. Freeman

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is his intention to introduce legislation to secure the rights of those women married to aliens to maintain their own nationality, if desired, on marriage.

34. Mr. Thomas Reid

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he intends to introduce legislation by which a British subject marrying a male alien would not thereby lose her nationality, and by which an alien marring a male British subject would not thereby acquire British nationality.

Mr. Ede

I regret I am not in a position to make a statement on this subject. As I have previously stated, the nationality law affects the status of British subjects in all parts of the British Commonwealth of Nations, and it is essential that before changes are made there should be consultation with the Dominions.

Mrs. Gould

Is the Home Secretary aware that a number of British women are suffering great hardship for no offence other than that they married before 1933, and in those circumstances will he do his best to speed up the machinery for the alteration of the law?

Mr. Ede

I do not regard marriage, before or after any date, as an offence. I am aware that a number of women do suffer very considerable hardships in this matter, and I am hoping that as a result of a move which has been made in one Dominion I may be able to speed up consideration of this very important matter.

Mr. Freeman

Will my right hon. Friend receive a deputation on this matter and give it further consideration?

Mr. Ede

If the deputation could give me any fresh information, I should as always be willing to receive it, but if it is merely to repeat statements that are well known, I hope my hon. Friend will believe that I am fully informed and I have the utmost sympathy with the desire that this state of things should be brought to an end.

Miss Rathbone

Is it necessary to wait upon the action or assent of two of the Dominions, one of them being Eire, to whom we have no special reasons for showing gratitude? Could not the Government give a lead in this matter and take their own action?

Mr. Ede

I think the subject of British nationality is one that must be considered by all the self-governing nations which have a right to be considered in the matter. I should be very reluctant to give any indication that I regarded this as a matter that could be settled by unilateral action.

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