MP offers to help in twins' passport fight

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Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson has said he will take up the fight on behalf of two sisters who have been forced to prove their nationality to obtain passports, despite being born in Peterborough.

Peterborough MP Stewart Jackson has said he will take up the fight on behalf of two sisters who have been forced to prove their nationality to obtain passports, despite being born in Peterborough.Identical twins Darcy and Omega Russell (12) are having to dig out school and medical records to demonstrate their right to British citizenship because their late mum was born in Kuwait, meaning they fall foul of strict nationality laws.

The process is expected to take months, meaning the girls and their guardian, Heidi Lovley, have had to delay plans for a holiday in Florida.

Now Mr Jackson has said he will take up the issue with Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, in a bid to get the bureaucratic wheels turning.

He said: "I would be more than happy to act on their behalf and write to the Home Secretary to see if we can expedite a solution to the problem and have a degree of common sense and compassion shown. They are very fortunate in having a lady who has taken them in and is looking after them, but at their age it must still be very difficult to be in a citizenship limbo.

"I would be delighted to help if they contact me."

Darcy and Omega, of Brookfurlong, Ravensthorpe, lost their mum Lianne to cancer two years ago, aged 42. Miss Lovley, a family friend since 2001, became the twins' guardian.

But when she applied for passports for the girls, she received a letter from the Identity and Passport Service telling her they first needed to gain British citizenship.

Related: Twins born in the city can't get UK passports, 2 Aug 2008

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The law says that even when someone is born in the UK, they must also have at least one parent who is a British citizen or is settled in this country to automatically qualify for citizenship.

The girls meet the birth qualification, but their citizenship is in question because Lianne was born in Kuwait while her father was working abroad, casting doubt on her own nationality status. The issue does not seem to have been resolved while she was alive.

To add to the complexity, the girls' father has played no part in their lives, meaning they have no second parent through whom they can claim citizenship.

In fact, those born before July 1, 2006 to unmarried parents can only claim citizenship through their mother.

To prove they are entitled to hold UK passports, the twins now have to show they have lived here for at least 10 years by supplying health and medical records.

Miss Lovley welcomed Mr Jackson's offer of assistance.

She said: "I am absolutely delighted, as we need all the help we can get. I can't believe I am on my own in thinking you just have to be born here to be a British citizen."