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The British Nationality Act 1981 (Remedial) Order 2018

Here is an extract from a letter dated 18 April 2018, written to Amber Hurd (Former Home Secretary) by Rt. Hon Harriet Harman MP, Chair of Joint Committee on Human Rights asking the Home Secretary to explain and remedy. Let's see how serious they are!

Link to full letter:

11. Overseas Territories Citizenship

The changes introduced by sections 4C and 4F-4I of the British Nationality Act 1981 (and being amended by this Remedial Order) only relate to British Citizenship and not to any of the other types of nationality covered by the British Nationality Act – in particular British Overseas Territories Citizenship. The European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) extends to the British Overseas Territories (Anguilla, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, Montserrat, St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia, Turks and Caicos Islands). Therefore, the discrimination under Article 8 ECHR as read with Article 14 ECHR is relevant unlawful discrimination, also when applied to citizenship provisions affecting these overseas territories. It is for the Westminster Parliament to legislate for BOTC nationality rules – however the discriminatory provisions in the British Nationality Act still exist in relation to BOTC citizenship. What does the Home Secretary intend to do to remedy this discrimination (discrimination as between women and men, and also discrimination based on marital status) on the face of the British Nationality Act 1981 in respect of British Overseas Territories Citizenship?

12. Other potentially discriminatory provisions in British Nationality Law

We note that a number of provisions of British Nationality Law would appear, at face value, to suggest other areas of Nationality Law could contain potentially unlawful discrimination and it would be useful to have an assessment and explanation from the Home Office as to whether such discrimination does in fact persist (complete with a reasoned explanation for each instance). For example – • Certain references in the Act seem to assume that a person’s parents must be (or must at some point have been) in a marriage or civil partnership, therefore potentially introducing discrimination based on the marital status of that person’s parents and creating potential difficulties for single parent households. See section 3(6) and section 17(6) of the Act. Similarly, other provisions requiring the consent of both parents (unless one has died) do not seem to adequately accommodate the situation of single parent families – section 4G(3) of the Act is on such example. The same would seem to be the case for paragraph 6 of Schedule 2 to the British Nationality (General) Regulations 2003. • Certain provisions provide that the relevant “qualifying connection” with the UK (or a British overseas territory) needs to be with the person’s father or his father’s father. Similarly, other provisions refer to descent in “the male line”. Such provisions therefore introduce discrimination as between those who have a British father (or paternal grandfather) and those who have a British mother (or grandmother or maternal grandfather). Such provisions include section 10(4), section 11(3), section 22(4), section 23(3)(b) and 23(5), and Schedule 8, paragraph 3(1)(b)of the Act. • Similarly, there is a lack of clarity as to the reading of section 4C of the Act, when read with section 5(1) of the 1948 British Nationality Act. Can section 5(1) of the 1948 Act be read to substitute “mother” for “father” in that section, and therefore to remove discrimination between those whose maternal grandmothers were born in the UK and those whose maternal grandfathers were born in the UK? Or is there persisting discrimination in this respect? • Some provisions only apply to people whose mothers were British (e.g. section 11(2) of the Act). • Certain provisions only apply to a “wife” of a British citizen and would therefore seem to discriminate against husbands of British nationals. For example, section 14(1)(b)(iii) and (iv) and 14(1)(e), section 23(1)(c), section 25(1)(e) and 25(1)(f) and section 30(b) of the Act. It would also be helpful to have confirmation from the Home Secretary that the Act does not contain discrimination as between those who are married and those who are in civil partnerships. • Certain provisions only apply to people whose fathers (and not mothers) were serving in the armed forces, Crown service or in an EU institution. For example, section 14(2) or section 25(2) of the Act. We would be grateful for an assessment and explanation from the Home Office as to whether any such discrimination does in fact persist in British Nationality Law (including addressing each of the above examples), complete with a reasoned explanation for each instance.

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