Two-week wait for Inga Lockington decision from Home Office
PUBLISHED: 17:07 29 May 2018
Former Ipswich mayor Inga Lockington should hear within the next two weeks whether she can become a British citizen - but Home Secretary Sajid Javid needs to explain why it has taken so long to reach this state.
And why was it only when we highlighted the case – and attracted national and international attention to Danish-born Mrs Lockington’s plight – that Home Office staff started taking it seriously?
Mrs Lockington was told her application for British citizenship, which cost £1,282, had been unsuccessful because she did not have paperwork which, the Home Office said, was needed to prove she had been in Britain long enough.
She had been given wrong advice that her “indefinite right to remain” stamp in her passport on her marriage in 1979 would not be enough to grant her citizenship.
Once we contacted the Home Office, we were told her visa would provide evidence – and an official contacted Mrs Lockington to find out details about her life in the UK.
She has now been told to expect a decision within the next two weeks – and is hoping for positive news.
She said: “I am pleased they are looking at it all again. The people who have been speaking to me are very helpful and I am hopeful.
“But my point is if this can happen to me, what about everyone else? I’m sure there are many other people from EU countries applying who don’t have the knowledge of the system or the media contacts.”
When Mr Javid took over at the Home Office in the wake of the Windrush scandal that cost the job of his predecessor Amber Rudd, he banned the phrase “Hostile Environment” to describe the department’s attitudes towards illegal immigrants.
A spokesman for the Home Office said Mrs Lockington’s case would be concluded as soon as possible.
He said: “The fact that we contacted her at the end of last week to find out the relevant dates for us to look for documents and that we have called her again today shows that we are keen to sort this case out as soon as possible.
“Everyone is keen to ensure we reach a satisfactory conclusion to this as soon as possible but at this stage we cannot really give a final timescale but we are aware you are likely to hear about it when things are all sorted out.”
Inga Lockington’s 39 years in the UK
Inga married Dr Tim Lockington at the end of 1979 and returned to live with him in Britain at the end of December – her passport was stamped with indefinite leave to remain by an immigration officer at Harwich after she showed him her wedding certificate.
Inga and Tim Lockington lived in various places in the UK until the mid 1990s when he took up a job at Ipswich hospital and they made their home in the town.
In 1999 Mrs Lockington became the only LibDem on Ipswich Council. Two years later she was elected to Suffolk County Council.
From 2004-2007 she was a member of Ipswich Council’s executive and from 2007-2008 was Mayor of her adopted town.
She has been re-elected to both authorities many times, most recently to the borough in May when she received the largest single vote in this year’s Ipswich Council elections – winning more than half the total votes in her St Margaret’s Ward.