HC Deb 21 July 1949 vol 467 cc1527-8
2. General Sir George Jeffreys

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department in view of the passing of the British Nationality Act, what steps should be taken by persons of British parentage born in India, Pakistan, Ceylon, or Burma, prior to the passing of that Act, to ensure that they retain their British nationality.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Ede)

All persons born before the commencement of the British Nationality Act, 1948, on 1st January, 1949, in India, Pakistan or Ceylon are under the Act British subjects and need take no steps to retain that status. The nationality of persons born in Burma before Burma became an independent country on 4th January, 1948, is governed by the Burma Independence Act, 1947, which provides that any such person whose father or paternal grandfather was born outside Burma at a place comprised in His Majesty's Dominions is a British subject. The Act also provides that certain other persons born in Burma before it became independent may before 4th January, 1950, elect to remain British subjects.

It is impossible within the limits of an answer to a Question to do more than give a broad indication of the position, but I will be glad to give the hon. and gallant Member any further information he desires.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that what he has just stated will give very great satisfaction to, and allay very great misgivings on the part of, a great many British subjects who are affected? Is he further aware that it has been published in the newspapers and elsewhere that British subjects by blood, and born in India, Pakistan, and these other countries, lose their British nationality unless they pay and claim for it? Will he make the statement which he has just given in answer to my Question as public as possible?

Mr. Ede

I do not control the newspapers in this country, and I do not want to. However, I hope the answer to the hon. and gallant Gentleman's Question will have the widest possible publicity. I am very anxious indeed to allay the anxiety of any person who may have doubts as to his position, and I shall be very pleased, if specific cases are submitted to me, to go into them thoroughly.