March 3, 2015

Lord's Amendments 17, 35, and 36 - May 7, 2014

(Watch the full debate here 17:10 - 17:13)

On May 7, 2014, the House of Commons accepted Amendment 3/New Clause 66, now called Amendments 17, 35 and 36. These three amendments were voted into the Immigration Act 2014.  Finally!!!  Such an amazing and joyous day, and I can't thank those enough who helped us along the way to achieve what we had been fighting decades to have. 

James Brokenshire:  Lords Amendments 17, 35 and 36, which were proposed by Lord Avebury in the other place, correct an historical anomaly relating to the treatment of illegitimate children. Nationality law is complex, and anomalies arise, particularly as aspects of family life have changed since the time of the British Nationality Act 1981. In 2006, amendments to the 1981 Act enabled illegitimate children to inherit nationality from a British father in the same way as a legitimate child. Those amendments were not made retrospective. To have done so could have itself caused problems for individuals who were now adult and had made a life for themselves in a different nationality. These amendments enable illegitimate children born to British fathers before 2006 to register as British if they choose to do so, correcting a historical anomaly by providing a route to citizenship for those who want to take it.

Dr Huppert:  I thank the Minister for the Government’s support for these amendments, which I tried to put in the Bill but encountered some technical difficulties. Will he join me in paying tribute to those who campaigned for many years to get this injustice changed? People such as Tabitha Sprague, Antonia Fraser Fujinaga and Maureen Box tried very hard, and the many thousands affected by this will be delighted that the Government are now fixing it.

James Brokenshire:  I recognise those who have made the case for this change for some considerable time, and I am pleased that the Government have been able to support these amendments in the other place. I hope that this House will be equally able to support them here. It is important to recognise that they have addressed an historical anomaly and now allow that opportunity to the individuals affected of a route to citizenship that was not available to them before.

Fiona Mactaggart:  The Minister rightly says that we are dealing with an historical anomaly, and that makes the case for introducing this part of the Bill and commencing it as early as possible. I hope that he can assure the House that he will put his foot on the accelerator to do that, because my constituent whose case prompted Lord Avebury to table these amendments is still stuck in limbo and, like other people, he would like to be able to remedy his situation.

James Brokenshire:  I am grateful to the hon. Lady for that and I have certainly heard the points she has made.
The full Hansard source can be found here

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