HC Deb 05 March 1965 vol 707 cc322-3W
Mr. Lubbock

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs if he will instruct the Passport Office to alter the administrative rules so that an application for a passport for a minor can be signed by the mother as well as by the father.

Mr. George Thomson

No. By law, a father is the legal guardian of his legitimate children and, as such, is entitled to their custody. A mother is not so entitled unless either she is awarded custody by a competent Court or the father is dead. Passport regulations have no alternative but to conform to the law as it stands in regard to legal guardianship. It would be inconsistent with that position if, in normal circumstances, passport facilities were given to minor children with the mother's consent alone. Within these regulations, the passport authorities use their discretion to allow mothers to sign passport applications, with suitable safeguards, when the father is abroad or cannot be traced.