HC Deb 22 July 1971 vol 821 cc1653-4
6. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will issue guidance clarifying the regulations concerning British nationality and the rights conferred by British nationality.

Mr. Sharples

I am sending my hon. Friend the explanatory material which is already freely made available.

Mr. Wall

Is my hon. Friend aware that there are several British families who have been serving the State for generations overseas but who are now no longer considered British? Is he aware, for example, that in one such family there are four children who, because each was born in a different place in the Commonwealth, are now each considered to have a different nationality? Is not this absurd, and cannot the regulations be modified?

Mr. Sharples

Perhaps my hon. Friend will be good enough to look at the material which I have sent to him. I shall be very willing to discuss any individual case.

Mr. Emery

Could my hon. Friend ask his right hon. Friend whether I could have a reply to a letter which I wrote about two months ago concerning a case of this type? Both the grandfather and the father were born in the Commonwealth, one in India and one in Tanganyika, as it then was, both were English and always resident in this country, yet the man concerned now finds himself debarred from British citizenship. Do not cases of this kind call for special powers on the part of the Home Secretary? I had hoped that the Immigration Bill might be the place to provide for them.

Mr. Sharples

I shall look into the reasons why my hon. Friend has not had a reply to his letter. He will appreciate that these cases are somewhat complex.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

Is it not impossible to clarify the British Nationality Act, 1948, and does not the hon. Gentleman accept that what is required is a new citizenship Act as the only way to deal with the matter, not the nonsense about patriality which makes it even worse?

Mr. Sharples

I recall that we discussed this on another occasion.