Henry Smith MP asks Home Secretary for reform to citizenship law for Chagossians
Conservative MP for Crawley Henry Smith has spoken in Parliament to challenge Home Secretary Priti Patel to reform citizenship law to stop young Chagossians facing excessive immigration costs and even deportation from the UK.
Mr Smith was speaking after a statement on the 'Windrush' report. In the previous Parliament, Mr Smith proposed a Private Members Bill which would have given a path to British citizenship for all descendants of people born on the Chagos Islands. The bill would give Chagossians the same access to British citizenship as if the deportations of the 1960s and 1970s had not happened.
The Home Affairs Select Committee, in their inquiry into issues related to the Windrush Scandal, officially recommended the government adopt measures included in the Mr Smith's Bill, officially known as the British Indian Ocean Territory (Citizenship) Bill. More details about this can be found here.
Mr Smith's question and the Home Secretary's response, in which she suggests this issue will be considered, can be viewed here. The full text of the question and response is also copied in below.
Henry Smith MP: In a similar situation to the Windrush generation are the descendants of Chagos islanders, whose families were exiled from the British Indian Ocean Territory, and who now face citizenship problems. In the review of nationality law that my right hon. Friend just announced, will she commit to looking at the case of the Chagossian people?
Home Secretary Priti Patel MP: As I have touched on, this will form part of the Home Office’s wider work on all sorts of aspects of nationality law and the complexities of immigration law and the immigration system. As I said, we need the time and ability to do this, which is what we are undertaking right now and will continue to do so. In due course, I will report back. We will look at all these issues, and I am sure that many more will surface in the weeks and months ahead.