John’s going nowhere due to ‘red tape’

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A disabled former soldier is being denied a passport due to what he calls “red tape” and “bureaucracy”.

And despite the involvement of a local solicitor and national politicians, he’s no closer to being able to go abroad to spend time with friends and loved ones.

John Davidson, 65, who lives at the Corn Mill and is a British citizen with a National Insurance number, was born in Darjeeling and is the son of an Irish born doctor who served in the British army and who was held as a prisoner of war for six and a half years by the Japanese.

And despite a year-long battle to gain a passport, it appears Mr Davidson’s father, who was born in Ireland in 1900, is the sticking point to him gaining a passport.

A letter to Mr Davidson – whose birth certificate lists him as being a British citizen and who served his country – from HM Passport Office in Durham states: “As you were born in India after its independence in January 1, 1949 it was necessary for you to have a father who was born in the UK.”

Taking up the story, Mr Davidson, who suffered a stroke in 1997, has had a leg amputated and suffers from epilepsy, and has been on benefits for years, told the Hawick News this week: “My father was born in Ireland in 1900 and at that point Ireland was part of the United Kingdom. This is all so depressing. It has been going back and forth for some time now and no-one seems to be able to help.

“I am ill and would like to visit family and friends while I still can.”

And John’s carer, Doug Mather, told us: “It really does get to John. You would think common sense would prevail.” The passport office in Durham refused to comment.