HC Deb 18 July 1946 vol 425 cc1372-3
32. Sir Henry Morris-Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state the number of applicants who have been granted naturalisation since the revised regulation was issued, giving the number separately for those who have served in His Majesty's Forces and those who have been granted priority owing to special services rendered; the total number of applications now pending; and how many of these are in a priority category.

36. Mr. Peter Freeman

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many certificates of naturalisation have been issued this year; how many applications have been received each year since 1939; and when he anticipates being able to deal with all those who applied before the war.

Mr. Ede

I have granted 1,123 certificates of naturalisation this year up to 30th June. The machinery for dealing with applications by persons who have served in His Majesty's Forces, and those who claim priority on the ground of the value of their work to the nation, is only just beginning to produce results, and it will be some time before I shall be able to give figures illustrative of the speed at which the machine is working.

The total number of outstanding applications of all categories is over 24,000, of which over 6,000 are in priority categories and over 2,000 were submitted before the war. Prewar applications are being considered, concurrently with priority applications, as rapidly as the staff position allows, but it is too early to say when they will all be dealt with. I am circulating the remaining figures asked for by my hon. Friend the Member for Newport in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that there are a few applications referring to elderly people who are very distinguished in their particular walks of life, and whose naturalisation would do credit to this country? Would he put them in a special category?

Mr. Ede

I do try to have regard to the individual claims, but with so large a number as 24,000 I have to be very careful, lest, by granting a whole number of priorities, I really cancel all the priorities out.

Mr. James Callaghan

May I ask whether merchant seamen are getting priority, because there is a large number at Cardiff clocks, and I understand that a large number have not yet received their certificates?

Mr. Ede

If a merchant seaman is recommended to me specially by the appropriate Government Department, he gets priority in the same way as does any other skilled worker.

Following are the figures:.

Applications for naturalization
Year Number
1940 2,345
1941 564
1942 479
1943 1,160
1944 2,349
1945 5,225
1946 (to 3oth Tune) 10,658