The clause is very different from clause 1, which deals with the Commonwealth Institute, but they have in common the purpose of further strengthening the Commonwealth, to which Cameroon and Mozambique were formally admitted in 1995. I am sure that hon. Members on both sides of the Committee welcomed that decision. However, some tidying up remains to be done so that various Acts are amended to record that those countries are to be treated as Commonwealth countries. That is long overdue, given that they have been welcome members of the Commonwealth for seven years.
The provisions amend the Army Act 1955, the Air Force Act 1955 and the Naval Discipline Act 1957 to include Cameroon and Mozambique in the definitions of ''Commonwealth force'' and ''Commonwealth country''. They also amend other provisions so that the forces of Cameroon and Mozambique can be treated as visiting forces from a Commonwealth country under those statutes.
I agree that the measure is long overdue and congratulate the hon. Gentleman on proposing it. Will he clarify whether other countries applying to join the Commonwealth will have to go through a similar
process, or does the Bill tidy up the position once and for all?
I believe that the provisions apply specifically to Cameroon and Mozambique, but the Government Whip may want to elaborate on that. We would need legislation if a country that did not have the same historical links to us wanted to join the Commonwealth.
I thank the Government Whip for his clarification. I am grateful to the hon. Member for Glasgow, Shettleston (Mr. Marshall) for his inquiry, and to hon. Members who are here because of their links to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. I appreciate their effort to attend the debate as a practical way of showing their support for the Commonwealth.
The Government fully support the clause as a tidying-up measure following the admission of Cameroon and Mozambique to the Commonwealth in 1995. I clarify that citizens of Cameroon and Mozambique already have the status of Commonwealth citizens for the purposes of the British Nationality Act 1981 by virtue of the British Nationality (Cameroon and Mozambique) Order 1998. Therefore, no further provision is necessary in that respect.
Following the question asked by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Shettleston, I understand that the provision relates to the current situation and to Cameroon and Mozambique. Will any subsequent changes in Commonwealth membership require primary legislation, or an Order in Council?