Henry Smith MP has received a boost in his efforts to ensure nationality rights for descendants of the Chagos islanders after legislation he introduced in Parliament received backing from the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee.
The Crawley MP’s British Indian Ocean Territory (Citizenship) Bill would simplify nationality law to allow individuals descended from the Chagos Islands to register as British Overseas Territories Citizens.
These citizens’ parents and grandparents were forcibly exiled from this UK Overseas Territory half a century ago, when the then-Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, gave an Order in Council to remove the inhabitants of the British Indian Ocean Territory so a UK/US military base could be established on the strategic island of Diego Garcia.
“My sincere thanks to the House of Commons Home Affairs Select Committee for supporting my British Indian Ocean Territory (Citizenship) Bill which would restore UK nationality rights to Chagos islander descendants whose ancestors were forcibly exiled from their homeland. It’s time to stop dividing families.”
The Committee, which is elected by MPs and scrutinises the work of the Home Office and ministers including the Home Secretary, published their latest report, ‘The Windrush generation’, earlier today. It looks at the treatment of the Windrush generation as well as the Home Office's culture, policy and approach to immigration.