Clause 5 - Acquisition by reference to the British overseas territories

British Overseas Territories Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 6th December 2001.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

This short clause introduces schedule 1, which details further ways in which British citizenship may be acquired after commencement through association with a qualifying British overseas territory. The general aim is to put the qualifying territories in the same position as the United Kingdom for the purposes of the provisions of the British Nationality Act 1981, which relate to acquisition of British citizenship through birth, adoption and ancestry.

Photo of Parmjit Dhanda Parmjit Dhanda Labour, Gloucester

This is the first Standing Committee on which I have served, and it is nice to serve on a Committee that has such unanimity. That is largely because the Bill is inclusive, and its most inclusive aspect is clause 5, which raises some interesting questions.

On adoption and abandoned children, the clause refers to an appointed day and the right of abandoned children to have British citizenship, which is positive. The Bill also closes some loopholes and allows the child of a couple who are British citizens to have British citizenship. However, what is meant by an appointed day? Could there be a time lag, especially in adoption, between the start of the process and an appointed day?

Photo of Ben Bradshaw Ben Bradshaw Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)

The appointed day is simply the day on which the Bill is enacted—its commencement. Anyone who is found abandoned—a foundling—or who is put up for adoption will have those rights. I did not catch the second part of my hon. Friend's question.

Photo of John Butterfill John Butterfill Conservative, Bournemouth West

Order. That relates to schedule 1, not clause 5. Clause 5 is the enabling clause to schedule 1, and there will an opportunity to debate such issues in the debate on schedule 1.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 5 ordered to stand part of the Bill.