Now that the private member's bill to grant UK passports to war widows is back on track, it is time to renew the push for similar treatment of Hong Kong's ethnic minorities. As former Governor Lord Wilson and other peers rightly pointed out during yesterday's passage of the war widows' bill through the House of Lords, their plight remains unresolved. Many still fear becoming stateless in less than 14 months' time. Those concerns have not been allayed by the Prime Minister's supposedly 'cast-iron guarantee' of unconditional entry to Britain should they ever come under pressure to leave Hong Kong. While the opposition Labour Party has promised to remove that pre-condition if it takes power, the present British Government still resists all suggestions of providing a more specific guarantee. Some suspect Britain is stalling in the hope that many of the ethnic minorities will turn elsewhere for foreign passports. It would then grant passports to the few who remain unprotected in the immediate run-up to the handover. If that is the case, it is a shameful strategy and one which deserves to be exposed. It should not be too difficult to force Britain to give a little more ground. While the Home Office fiercely opposes further softening of its stance, John Major has indicated some willingness to look again at the possibility of providing more specific criteria for the circumstances under which his guarantee could be taken up. If the concerted pressure that was so successfully brought to bear in winning the battle over the war widows can now be focused on the plight of the ethnic minorities, it may yet be possible to record a similar success on their behalf. But much will depend on the efforts of the Governor, who has shown such willingness to take up the cudgels on Hong Kong's behalf. Chris Patten is the one who can exercise enough influence at Westminster to force Britain to honour its moral obligation to them. He must waste no opportunity in doing so.