HL Deb 11 May 1965 vol 266 cc9-10

My Lords, I beg to move that the Order standing in my name be approved. This Order has been before the Special Orders Committee, and they have reported that it is in accordance with precedent and requires no special attention. But I will give a very brief explanation of it if your Lordships wish, because I know your Lordships' interest in diplomatic privileges.

The Diplomatic Privileges Act, 1964, lays down the privileges and immunities to which members of the staff of diplomatic missions are entitled and gives the force of law in the United Kingdom to a number of the provisions in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which was signed in 1961. One effect of the Act was to restrict the privileges which could be enjoyed by United Kingdom citizens employed by Commonwealth and foreign diplomatic missions in this country. There are, however, a number of persons who are citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies and also citizens of another Commonwealth country—that is to say, they have dual citizenship—and it would clearly be wrong to restrict the privileges, for example, of an Australian citizen working in the Australian High Commission just because he happened also to be a citizen of this country.

The Diplomatic Privileges (Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies) Order 1964 provided that members of a diplomatic mission who possessed dual citizenship should be treated as if they did not have United Kingdom citizenship. That particular Order was going through the House at the same time as the Gambia Independence Bill was before the House, and in consequence Gambia could not be included in it. Since the Order was made, the Gambia has become independent, and the purpose of the present Order is simply to add the Gambia to the list of those specified in the 1964 Order. In other words, should there be any persons of dual citizenship in the Gambia High Commission they will be treated as having Gambian citizenship and not United Kingdom citizenship. So far as we are able to ascertain, there are no such persons at the present time but there might be in the future. I beg to move.

Moved, That the Draft Diplomatic Privileges (Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies) (Amendment) Order 1965, laid before the House on 6th April, be approved.—(Lord Taylor.)


My Lords, I know that this House is very sensitive to any question of any extension of diplomatic privilege, but as the noble Lord, Lord Taylor, has said, this is a clear example where the Order should be extended to the Gambia, and from this side of the House we welcome this Order.

On Question, Motion agreed to.