Martin Forde KC was born in the UK to parents of St Lucian and Barbadian heritage.  He has a practice in 1 Crown Office Row (1 COR) which covers all aspects of Health Law.  He was invited by Sajid Javid MP to oversee the design of the Windrush Compensation Scheme as an Independent advisor (2018-2021).  He is the author of The Forde Inquiry (2022), an investigation into a report of antisemitism within the Labour Party.

In excerpt 1 (see below) Martin talks about his parents and their belief that they were fully British having arrived in Britain as Citizens of the United Kingdom and Colonies (CUKC).  However when Barbados gained independence in 1966, parliamentary draftsmen included a statute that effectively said now that you are independent, ‘you regain and reclaim your Bajan-born citizens’ no matter where they might be. But no one wrote to his father to inform him of this. When post 1973 there was a push for people to naturalise, his father seems to have felt indignant about the need to do so.  It was his mother that insisted they naturalise.  Martin notes that they had received a letter from a Passport Officer who claimed they both needed to naturalise.  This information was not in fact correct as St Lucia, the colony of his mother’s birth, did not become independent until 1979. A copy of this letter is provided below.

In excerpt 2 Martin talks about a newspaper advert he found in his parents’ belongings.  The advert publicly revealed that they were applying to the Home Secretary for citizenship of the United Kingdom and Colonies and invited anyone ‘who knows any reason why this should not be granted’ to write to the Home Office with a signed statement of facts.

Interview by Juanita Cox

Martin Forde Interview [Part 1: Excerpt 1]

KEYWORDS: CUKC, Compensation Scheme, passports, St Lucia, Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam, British, Independence, Barbados, Statutes, Commonwealth, Governor General, Queen, King, Bank Notes, 1973, naturalise, national service, tax, national insurance, letter, labour.

Martin Forde Interview [Part 1: Excerpt 2]

KEYWORDS: Citizenship, Advert, Newspaper, Home Office, Racist, Printer.

Copyright & Permissions: Martin Forde granted copyright and performing rights in this interview to the University of London.  He agreed for the interview to be made accessible as a public reference resource for use in research, publication, education, lectures, broadcasting, podcasting and the internet. Permission to use this material beyond the Windrush Scandal website should be sought before reproduction.


JC:        Dr Juanita Cox (Interviewer)
MF:       Martin Forde (Respondent)


9 May 2023.  1 Crown Office Road, Temple, London, 7HH

Transcript: Part 1 of Interview: Excerpt 1, 38:35 to 43:52

Keywords: CUKC, Compensation Scheme, passports, St Lucia, Home Office, Sir Philip Rutnam, British, Independence, Barbados, Statutes, Commonwealth, Governor General, Queen, King, Bank Notes, 1973, naturalise, national service, tax, national insurance, letter, labour.


MF        38:35

Okay, so as far as he was concerned, so he came as a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies. And when I was appointed to be an advisor on the compensation scheme, I actually took in both my parents’ original passports from 53 and 55. And I showed them to Sir Philip Rutnam: he had never seen one. And I handed it to him. I said, that was the biggest con trick ever perpetrated because my parents thought they were fully British. And what happened was, in 66, Barbados gained independence. And the statutes that were drafted granting them independence, were drafted here by parliamentary draughtsmen and what they slid in was a clause that effectively said, now you’re independent although you remain within the Commonwealth and the Queen remains your head of state and you will have a governor general who has to approve your Prime Minister. I mean, absolutely. Bonkers. I just come back from St. Lucia, and my 13 year old twins said to me, why is the queen on their banknotes? And I had to explain that you know, Charles is officially head of state and they they were just utterly bewildered by. So the statute effectively said, as a quid pro quo for independence you regain and reclaim your Bajan born citizens wherever they might be in Britain. But nobody wrote to my father and said, Dear Ralph, you’re Bajan again and probably wouldn’t have known where to find him. And so when post 73, there was a push for people to naturalise, he I think, like many of his cohort thought, I’ve done two years national service for Queen and Country. I’ve paid by then 22 years tax and National Insurance. My children were born here. I have a national insurance number. I have a GP. Why the hell do I need to naturalise and it was my mum, who insisted before we went back in 75 for the first time, that we naturalised.  I can remember the letter, and I addressed the select committee on this, that came back when he applied. It basically said, you need to apply for Barbados passports, at the Barbadian High commission, and your wife needs to do the same. Well, but that was a major blunder, because she was still a citizen of the United Kingdom colonies because St Lucia didn’t gain independence until 79. So the home office, were cocking it up even in the 70s. And your son’s applications are in order, but we’ll hold them in abeyance. And I can remember him kissing his teeth and throwing the letter down on the table. And my mom’s just said, I want British passports before we go and pushed and pushed and pushed. And in the end, we got them. Now that letter should have enclosed my brother’s passport, and mine. And I’ve spoken about this a lot. I just felt they were saying we’ve had 22 years of your labour. And in fact, in my mother’s case, she worked from 55 to 61 as a bookkeeper, so it has six years, so 28 years of your labour and you can now go home with your children. You know, we, we don’t want you anymore.

Transcript: Part 1 of Interview: Excerpt 2,

Keywords: Citizenship, Advert, Newspaper, Home Office, Racist, Printer

JC          51:53

Can we return just for a moment back to your your father’s citizenship status and the process he went through? I saw on Twitter, I think Jacqui McKenzie had probably tweeted it, that they’d had to put an advert in in the paper. Uhm can you just talk me through that?

MF        52:13

I found going through my father’s things in his newspaper – it’s like a show cause advert – if anybody knows of any reason why these two people (and gave my mother and father’s name living at this address) should not be granted citizenship, we need to be made aware of your objections, so write directly to the Home Office.  Which meant any old racist could have said anything about them at all. I mean, I think it’s absolutely disgraceful. I think Jacqui said she wasn’t, she had never come across it before.  But I certainly felt like whether that was my father, or my mother doing kind of belt and braces people, and most people didn’t do it, it was obviously easier for my dad to do it because he was a printer working on that newspaper.  He probably slid it in for free. And it was in tiny print. So I don’t know how much it would have come to people’s attention. But I was disgusted. That that was something that he was required to do.

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