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Yes, that was a bit of a throwaway remark from Mr Grieve and as I recall he wasn't too keen on clarifying exactly what he'd meant when someone (was it you?) asked about it in the question session afterwards.
It's probably technically the case that they can't refuse a British citizen the right to enter Britain without a passport, however the difficulty comes in proving that you *are* a British citizen with right of entry and abode, if you have no passport. The Immigration Service is unlikely to accept a gas bill as proof of ID at the port of entry, after all.
As Mr Grieve also said, carriers (airlines, etc) *will* refuse to take you without a passport; immigration rules now say that carriers taking people without documentation are subject to large fines and, of course, carriers are free to demand that you fulfil whatever reasonable conditions they want if they're to take you.
Threads over on the NO2ID forum pages indicate that the Passport Agency will be issuing passports with "empty" biometric chips from October this year; my first step will be to apply for a new passport immediately (ie before October 2005). Since my passport expires in February next year this happens not to be a hardship for me. Whether just to apply for a new one (which I understand you are allowed to do at any time without justifying why you aren't using the old one till it expires), or whether I'll stick the old one in for a full boil wash and return it as damaged I'm not sure yet!Tony Walton, 12 years ago.