Mayor welcomes London’s newest citizens in special City Hall ceremony
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, and Chair of the London Assembly, Jennette Arnold, today (Monday 7th September) welcomed some of the capital’s newest citizens to City Hall as they took part in London’s seventh special Citizenship Ceremony.
Thirty two new British citizens, one for every London borough, swore their affirmation of allegiance to Queen and country in the City Hall Chamber, where the proceedings were witnessed by proud friends and family and borough mayors.
Each new citizen was presented with a certificate, and a gift of a book about London’s highly successful 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to commemorate their British Citizenship. This year, they also received a scroll of the Magna Carta in celebration of its 800th anniversary, before singing the national anthem.
Among today’s newest Londoners were Islington resident Umit Basal, originally from Turkey, and Barking and Dagenham resident Sauda Parvin, from Bangladesh.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, warmly welcomed London’s new citizens. He said: “London is one of the most international cities on the planet, where our diverse communities make a massive contribution to this city’s economic and cultural success. I urge all our new citizens to get involved and take advantage of everything London has to offer, contribute to its future success, and help ensure it remains the best big city in the world.”
London Assembly Chair Jennette Arnold said: ‘'I am delighted to welcome our capital’s new citizens to City Hall, and celebrate the many benefits they bring to the country. Nowhere is this more evident than in London, and today’s ceremony is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the city’s huge variety of cultures, ethnicities and traditions.’'
The ceremony was administered by Head of Registration and Nationality Services for Brent and Barnet, Mark Rimmer OBE, who said: ''I am honoured to be conducting another Citizenship Ceremony here at City Hall, kindly hosted by the Mayor. It is such a privilege to welcome new citizens to London, and I feel both humbled and proud at the enthusiasm and commitment they display as they become British, and the contributions they make to our capital.’'
Guests were treated to a musical performance from singer-songwriter Lucy May Walker, who took part in the Mayor’s Gigs busking competition this year. Walker performed Guns N’ Roses track ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ and her own song ‘We Know the Score’.
Notes to editors
The Mayor has held this pan-London annual event since 2008, to welcome new citizens and encourage them to get involved in their local communities.
Citizen ceremonies were introduced in 2004. Each local authority has a legal duty to hold citizenship ceremonies.
New citizens who attend a ceremony are required to make an oath of allegiance (or affirmation) and a pledge. Before 2004, oaths were made in private.
The oath of allegiance is: ‘I (name) swear by Almighty God that on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors, according to law.’
The affirmation of allegiance is: ‘’I (name) do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that on becoming a British citizen, I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, her Heirs and Successors, according to law’.
The pledge is: ‘I will give my loyalty to the United Kingdom and respect its rights and freedoms. I will uphold its democratic values. I will observe its laws faithfully and fulfil my duties and obligations as British citizen.’
Citizens received a copy of ‘Drawing the Games: A Story of London 2012’, commissioned by the Mayor of London. Written by Nicholas Garland, it includes a foreword by Boris Johnson and commentary by Richard Dorment.
The event was also attended by pupils from Wykham Primary School, Neasden and Brentfield Primary School, Stonebridge, as part of an exercise to learn more about British Citizenship.
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