Home Office contacting ex-mayor Inga to ease citizenship application

Inga Lockington with her letter from the Home Office and her Danish passport from the 1970s

Inga Lockington with her letter from the Home Office and her Danish passport from the 1970s Picture: PAUL GEATER - Credit: Archant

Home Office staff are hoping to speak to former Ipswich Mayor Inga Lockington as soon as possible to try to ensure that her path to British citizenship is smoothed.

Danish-born Mrs Lockington, who has been a councillor for 19 years and was mayor of Ipswich 10 years ago, was told earlier this year that her application for citizenship had been rejected because the Home Office could not be satisfied that she met the residency criteria. She has lived in Britain since she married her husband Tim in 1979.

A Home Office spokesman said it appeared Mrs Lockington would be entitled to apply for citizenship based on the fact she was given indefinite leave to remain in the UK on her marriage.

Officials were trying to contact her – and were hoping to ensure that her application could be sorted out reasonably soon.

The spokesman said: “We respect Mrs Lockington’s public service and are happy to discuss the various routes to citizenship available to her.”

The process Mrs Lockington had followed requires the applicant to have had a “permanent residence card” – but that document is not necessary for EU citizens so her application was rejected.

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin was unable to raise the matter at Prime Minister’s Questions – but said he would be seeking an explanation from the Home Office.

He said: “The fact is if the process for applying for citizenship is confusing for someone like Inga who knows how the British system works as a very experienced councillor, what must it be like for the thousands of people who do not have that level of knowledge?

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“I think there are some very serious questions here that need to be asked of the Home Office and the government – is this going to be the general way they treat EU citizens?”

Mrs Lockington said she would like to hear from the Home Office about her application, and was currently trying to gather information to mount an appeal on the decision.

She said she did not fear deportation after Brexit – but did want her position in Britain to be regularised before the country leaves the EU.

She had not applied for citizenship earlier because there was no need as an EU citizen and she had not wanted to renounce her links to her home country.

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