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The story of how British citizenship developed and why this matters for questions of race, migration and belonging in 'Global Britain'

Hosted and produced by Michaela Benson.

Cover Art: George Kalivis

Production and post-production: Art of Podcast 

Feb 25, 2022

Did you know that until 2014 that some of those born overseas to unmarried British citizen fathers were not eligible for citizenship? Or that even when this was amended, the provisions were not extended to those born in similar circumstances to British Overseas Territories Citizens? How would you feel if you were denied the right to nationality because your parents weren’t married when you were born? And what does this tell us about who counts as British? 


In this episode we look at the human face of so-called ‘nationality anomalies’ and the struggles of the children of unmarried parents born overseas to gain equal rights to citizenship and nationality. This is an area of nationality legislation where discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, and parentage come crashing together. We explore how these outdated understandings of parental relationships at the heart of these anomalies sit in a long history of gender discrimination within nationality legislation. Michaela considers the back story to proposals in Clause 1 of the Nationality and Borders Bill that seek to address these anomalies. George reports on a complicated case of a child not entitled to the citizenship of either of their lesbian parents nor of the country in which they were born.  And we’re joined by citizenship equality campaigner, Tabitha Sprague, who successfully fought for those born overseas to British citizens fathers to be entitled for British citizenship, to explain more about this struggle and her personal history that brought this about.   


You can access the full transcripts for each episode over on the Rebordering Britain and Britons after Brexit website 



In this episode we cover …  

  1. The children of British parents denied the right to British nationality 
  1. Gender discrimination  
  1. Immigration Act 2014 and the Nationality and Borders Bill 




My half sister was able to have citizenship through our dad because she was born in marriage. But I wasn’t. And I remember thinking why couldn’t I have citizenship because of the way I was born? 


—Tabitha Sprague 



Where can you find out more about the topics in today’s episode? 

Tabitha tweets about these issues @ukcitequality 


She also recommends the work of The Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens 



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