Recruits (Nationality Rules)

Oral Answers to Questions — Ministry of Defence – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th April 1967.

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Photo of Mr James Davidson Mr James Davidson , Aberdeenshire West 12:00 am, 12th April 1967

asked the Secretary of State for Defence why the parents of British applicants for entry to the Armed Forces, apart from other rank entrants to the Army, are required to be British subjects or citizens of the Irish Republic by birth.

Photo of Mr Merlyn Rees Mr Merlyn Rees , Leeds South

The hon. Member's Question refers to the nationality rules which apply for the Armed Services. There is a special consideration relating to the employment of persons of alien origin in case they may be liable to pressure. This implies no reflection on the character of those concerned.

Photo of Mr James Davidson Mr James Davidson , Aberdeenshire West

I understood that those regulations applied to the parentage of the applicant. Will the Minister confirm that any British citizen is entitled to the same rights and privileges in applying for entry to the Services regardless of the origin of his parents?

Photo of Mr Merlyn Rees Mr Merlyn Rees , Leeds South

Everybody who comes to join the Armed Services has made available to him the nationality rules. Large numbers of questions on this matter come to my right hon. Friend, because many people whose parents have fought for this country in different circumstances are affected. The point at issue is that if at some future date pressure could be brought to bear on them because of relations living in some part of the world, we consider it fair from the earliest possible time not to allow them to come into the Services, otherwise they would not be able to have a full and proper career. My right hon. Friend has the right of waiver in this respect, but only in the most special circumstances.