asked Her Majesty's Government:What decision they have reached on whether there should be a statutory right to a passport.
After careful consideration the Government have concluded that they should maintain the present system, whereby United Kingdom passports are issued at the discretion of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs exercising the Royal Prerogative.In practice, refusal of passport facilities to United Kingdom nationals is confined to certain well defined categories of which Parliament has been informed from time to time. These are:
Under successive Administrations it has been extremely rare to refuse a person under category (c). Decisions in these cases are always taken personally by the Secretary of State.
The present system has worked well and it is generally accepted that under successive Administrations this exercise of the Royal Prerogative has not been abused. The Government sympathise with the feeling behind the proposal for a statutory right, but they are not satisfied that a change from the present system would be generally advantageous.
House adjourned at eleven minutes before eight o'clock.