HC Deb 10 July 1957 vol 573 cc360-1
9. Mr. Gower

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will take steps to make it unnecessary for British citizens born in British India prior to 1948 to have to produce evidence of British citizenship when applying for British passports, provided they have previously held British passports.

Mr. Ian Harvey

The possession of a British passport issued prior to 1948 is evidence of British nationality but not of United Kingdom citizenship. Since the British Nationality Act, 1948, introduced the new concept of British nationality through citizenship of one of the Commonwealth countries, the applicant must produce evidence of United Kingdom citizenship before a United Kingdom passport can be issued.

If an applicant for a United Kingdom passport has previously held a United Kingdom passport issued after 1st January, 1949, he is not asked to produce any further evidence.

Mr. Gower

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for the speed with which emergency steps were taken to deal with the case of Professor Anthony Steel, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wales; but will not he agree that it is really absurd that a person so long distinguished in the life of this country, who is a British magistrate and who holds many distinguished appointments in this country, should be forced to produce evidence of British nationality although he has held British passports for 20 or 30 years? May it not be that persons perhaps less distinguished than he would not have emergency steps taken quite so quickly?

Mr. Harvey

I appreciate my hon. Friend's point, but I think that we have to make these rules on a general basis and not with any exceptions in view.

Mr. Beresford Craddock

Is not it a fact that citizens of the United Kingdom resident in India for a temporary period are regarded as foreigners in India?

Mr. Harvey

That is rather a different point and I will look into it.

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