HC Deb 28 April 1955 vol 540 cc1041-2
1. Mr. J. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will now take steps to grant the same rights to British women subjects who marry foreigners as are available to British male subjects who marry foreigners.

The Secretary of State for the Home Department and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Major Gwilym Lloyd-George)

If, as I apprehend, the suggestion is that legislation should be introduced to provide that any foreigner who marries a British woman should be entitled to acquire British nationality thereby, I regret that I cannot accept it.

Mr. Hynd

Is the Secretary of State aware that no such suggestion is being made? All I am asking is that the same right should be granted to a British woman marrying a foreigner as to a British man marrying a foreigner. Does not the Minister agree that it is time we brought ourselves in line with countries like America and Germany, and ceased to maintain this measure of sex discrimination?

Major Lloyd-George

The situation which obtained prior to 1948 was retained in the 1948 Act. Although there is what I suppose is equality in the United States, there is also, under the McCarran Act, power to refuse admission to the United States to either men or women.

Sir J. Lucas

Is the Secretary of State aware that if a British girl who has married an American is divorced in America, that divorce counts in both countries; but if a British man marries an American girl an American divorce does not count in this country, and causes endless complication and expense?

11. Mr. J. Hynd

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many British women subjects married to foreigners have been prevented by Home Office action during the past 12 months from living with their husbands in Great Britain.

Major Lloyd-George

The immigration statistics are not kept in a form which would enable me to give this information, but I can assure the hon. Member that every case is considered on its merits.

Mr. Hynd

The Question is in regard to numbers. Am I not correct in assuming that there is a very small number indeed? In those circumstances, will the Home Secretary make inquiry into this matter and, in view of the smallness of the problem, will he see if he can remove this discrimination between British men and women subjects and return a little to the liberal principles of this country of the past?

Major Lloyd-George

There has been no departure from those principles in this respect. There is no discrimination. Every case is treated on its merits. This has been the practice for a very long time.

Mr. Ian Harvey

Is my right hon. and gallant Friend aware that not everybody still adheres to Liberal principles?