A relieved young man who was being threatened with deportation, despite being born and bred in Pendle, can continue his life here after he received an apology from the Home Office.
Former Colne Primet High pupil Shane Ridge discovered the shocking news that he was not officially a British citizen after applying for a passport and being told he did not have an automatic right to remain in the country.
Rather than the hoped-for passport, 21-year-old Shane received a letter from the Home Office informing him that his driving licence would be revoked as he had “no lawful basis to be in the UK”. The reason, it transpired, was that his mother Sue Ebbs was born in Australia and is not married to his father.
However, after Shane’s plight was highlighted across the country, including an appearance on national television, he announced on social media on Wednesday that the Home Office had apologised and that he can stay after all.
Shane, who had described the situation as “surreal”, said: “I just want to say a massive thank you for everyone out there who has messaged me and supported me though all this.
“The Home Office has ‘apologised’ but the stress has been unreal. But thank you all – this support has kept me thinking positive and has helped me a lot. Thank you so much.”
British law states that for any child born before July 2006, the father’s British nationality will only be relevant if he was married to the mother at the time of birth.
Therefore, Shane did not have an automatic right to citizenship and is required to apply for “right of abode”.
Shane, a joiner, had earlier told Leader Times Newspapers: “My head’s all over the place, I’m nervous.
“It’s so surreal.”
His desperate family had contacted Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson and other local politicians for help in his unusual but worrying plight.
Mr Stephenson said he was confident Shane’s case would be resolved and said he would support him in seeking legal advice.
Shane’s ward councillor, Lord Tony Greaves, had described the situation as “a cross between a Kafka novel and something out of North Korea”.
Lord Greaves added: “Shane is a Colner to his roots. This whole situation is crackers. It would be hilarious if it wasn’t so serious. In fact it is absolutely disgraceful.
“I’m contacting people I know who are experts in the field and will do everything I can to help. It’s unbelievable that a lad born in Airedale and educated in Colne is being threatened with deportation.
“It is bureaucratic casual cruelty.”