Monday, April 11, 2011

Bradley Manning's Nationality

It appears Bradley Manning, the US soldier who leaked thousands of US government diplomatic cables to Wikileaks, is in fact of dual nationality, US and British, owing to the fact his mother is British.

I first read this on boingboing last week - and was amazed by all the comments showing erroneous knowledge of UK nationality law.

Bradley's father is 100% US nationality, his mother has UK nationality (and II assume US nationality by marriage). Under UK law Bradley has UK nationality.

Why? A child born to a UK mother is automatically of UK nationality, wherever s/he was born. Not so, the child of a UK father with a foreign mother. As a UK Citizen and father to a child with a non-UK (and for that matter non-EU) mother to pass my UK nationality to my child I have to be "married" to the mother. Hardly proof of genetic fathership but I guess it will do.

To pass on my UK nationality to our daughter Kezia I had to marry her mother. When Kezia came down with leukaemia, although she did not have a UK passport, the nearest UK embassy was satisfied she was a UK citizen on presentation of her birth certificate and mine and Nanda's marriage certificate. She (and her mother) was duly issued with an emergency travel document.

To be a UK national/citizen you do not need to have a UK passport. Hence the UK has recognised Bradley Manning's UK citizenship and is correctly making representaions to the US government expressing concern about his detention and requesting consular access.

Why it has taken so long I don't know - I can only assume that Bradley's mum, supporters and legal advice were unaware of UK nationality law.

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