Former mayor of Ipswich who has lived in Britain since 1979 denied UK citizenship

Inga Lockton served as a Liberal Democrat borough councillor in 1999 and Suffolk county councillor in 2001

Harry Cockburn
Wednesday 23 May 2018 18:50 BST
Inga Lockington has lived in the UK for almost 40 years and was mayor of Ipswich
Inga Lockington has lived in the UK for almost 40 years and was mayor of Ipswich (Twitter)

A former mayor of Ipswich who has lived in Britain for 39 years has been denied UK citizenship by the Home Office.

Inga Lockington came to the UK from Denmark in 1979 after she married her husband Dr Tim Lockington. At the time, she was granted leave to remain for an indefinite period.

The family moved to Ipswich in 1990, where Ms Lockington was elected as a Liberal Democrat borough councillor in 1999, and a Suffolk county councillor in 2001.

She has held both seats ever since, and was made mayor of Ipswich for a year in 2007.

After the Brexit vote in June 2016, Ms Lockington decided to apply for citizenship, spending £1,282 on the application.

The Home Office rejected her application, saying it was not satisfied she had enough evidence to show she was a permanent resident of the UK. She was refunded £80 afterwards.

"I don't want special treatment but I do think that all applicants, including those from EU citizens, should be treated fairly," Ms Lockington said. "Luckily for me, I have not been told to leave yet - but who knows what will happen after Brexit? I just want some security and peace of mind."

The letter she received from the Home Office states: "As you have not provided a document certifying permanent residence or a permanent residence card issued by the Home Office, we cannot be satisfied that you were permanently resident in the United Kingdom on the date of your application for naturalisation and it has been refused."

Councillor Andrew Stringer - leader of the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group at Suffolk County Council - said the decision was "utterly outrageous".

He added: "How can a public servant, who was elected Mayor of Ipswich and has dedicated 19 years of her life to the people of Ipswich and Suffolk, be denied British citizenship? If Inga can't satisfy the Home Office that she should qualify for citizenship, then I don't see how anybody else stands a chance."

Sal Brinton, a Lib Dem peer and president of the party expressed her outrage on Twitter, writing: “I have known Inga for close to 20 years, she’s had indefinite leave to remain in her passport since 1979. Hostile environment for lawful EU citizens already here. Disgraceful!”

She added: “Home Office has ignored the indefinite leave to remain in Inga’s passport since 1979 after she married a UK citizen. Pure hostile environment at work. First Windrush, now EU citizens. This must stop.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We respect Mrs Lockington's public service and are happy to discuss the various routes to citizenship available to her."

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