Immigration bill: UK terror suspects could be stripped of their citizenship

Plans by Theresa May could see terror suspects faced with being made stateless

The Home Secretary is proposing a change to the Government's Immigration Bill which would allow British terror suspects to be stripped of their citizenship even if it leaves them stateless.

The last minute amendment would permit the removal of a UK passport from any person whose conduct is deemed “seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK”.

It comes as part of an apparent effort to appease Conservative backbenchers calling for tougher measures in the new legislation.

The Home Secretary already has the power to take away British citizenship from those with dual nationality, however, this change would allow her to make people stateless if they have been naturalised as a British citizen.

Human rights campaigners, such as legal charity Reprieve, branded the move an “alarming development” they said would give the Home Secretary power to “tear up people's passports without any need for the kind of due process”.

But immigration Minister Mark Harper said: "Citizenship is a privilege, not a right.

“Those who threaten this country's security put us all at risk. This Government will take all necessary steps to protect the public.

"These proposals will strengthen the Home Secretary's powers to ensure that very dangerous individuals can be excluded if it is in the public interest to do so.“

The amendment comes following one of the high-profile case of Hilal al-Jedda, who fled from Iraq to the UK in 1992 as a refugee from Saddam Hussein's regime. He won asylum and in 2000 was granted British nationality.

However, he returned to Iraq in 2004 where he came under suspicion of involvement in terrorism and in 2007 was stripped of his British nationality.

Al-Jedda, who now lives in Turkey, has since been fighting against the move through a series of legal appeals.

In October last year, a UK Supreme Court ruled that it was illegal to make him stateless, yet despite this ruling, the Home Secretary stripped al-Jedda of his UK citizenship for a second time in December 2013.

The Prime Minister has reportedly been seeking to quell a rebellion by reassuring backbenchers he shares their concerns, but has appealed for them to allow legislation to proceed uninhibited.

Around 70 Conservative backbenchers have signed a tweaked amendment to the legislation, originally tabled by Nigel Mills MP, which calls on the Government to reinstate restrictions on migrants from Romania and Bulgaria working in Britain until the end of 2018.

A further 100 MPs have voiced their support for a move by Tory MP Dominic Raab to completely block foreign criminals appealing against deportation by claiming a right to a ”family life“ in the UK.

Mr Mills, Conservative MP for Amber Valley, attempted to have labour market restrictions for Romanians and Bulgarians extended before they were lifted on 1 January.

Mr Cameron rushed through new measures to ensure EU migrants are unable to claim out-of-work benefits for their first three months in the UK.

However, the MP has lost the significant support of influential backbencher Douglas Carswell MP, who despite having signed the amendment announced on his blog he would no longer vote for it.

Meanwhile, Mr Raab's amendment would see the Home Secretary - rather than the courts - have the final say on whether an offender's family links are strong enough to allow them to avoid deportation.

Foreign criminals who can prove they face the prospect of torture, ill-treatment or death in their home country will still be able to overturn deportation orders under separate human rights measures.

More than 200 foreign criminals successfully challenge deportation on human rights grounds annually, with around 90 per cent relying on the "right to private and family life" set out under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions, Mr Cameron signalled he shared backbenchers' frustration with the use of Article 8 and urged them not to delay the passage of the Bill.

He said: "We need to correct - and we will correct in the Immigration Bill - the fact that it is so difficult to deport people who don't have a right to be here and should be facing trial overseas or should be deported overseas but make spurious arguments about the right to a family life.

“It is right that we are changing that. There is nothing anti-European about it. It's a very sensible step that this Government is taking and we should pass the Immigration Bill with all speed.”

Additional reporting by Press Association

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Analyst - 12 Month FTC - Entry Level

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Business Analyst is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Chefs - All Levels

£16000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To succeed, you will need to ha...

Recruitment Genius: Maintenance Engineer

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join an award winni...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive & Customer Service - Call Centre Jobs!

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy