HC Deb 14 February 1949 vol 461 cc782-3
45. Lieut.-Colonel Sir Thomas Moore

asked the Attorney-General whether it is proposed to introduce legislation to amend the present law so as to permit divorce by British subjects married to foreigners or Empire subjects who are not domiciled in Great Britain.

The Attorney-General (Sir Hartley Shawcross)

The difficulties arising from the rule that the wife is assumed by law to have the same domicile as her husband are appreciated. These difficulties are not confined to the law relating to divorce and give rise to somewhat complicated questions. They are receiving consideration but I cannot at present promise legislation.

Sir T. Moore

In view of the hardship and unhappiness caused to many British-born women—of which the right hon. and learned Gentleman is well aware—through this insistence on domicile, will he not try to find some form of legislation which would affect British-born women married to foreigners or Empire subjects only?

The Attorney-General

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that I have that hardship very much in mind.

Mr. Manningham-Buller

Would not the right hon. and learned Gentleman consider it possible, perhaps, to put forward some proposal to deal with this point for inclusion in the Bill which received its Second Reading last Friday?

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Does my right hon. and learned Friend accept the principle that these women should have the right to retain or resume their British domicile whenever they so wish?

The Attorney-General

I do not think I should go further than I have already done.

Mrs. Middleton

Will my right hon. and learned Friend have a special look at the circumstances regarding marriages with Newfoundlanders, because I understand that in Newfoundland there is no provision at all for divorce, and, consequently, British women married to Newfoundlanders have no remedy at all?

The Attorney-General

Yes, I will consider that.