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Deprivation of Citizenship Status

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:35 pm on 20th February 2019.

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Photo of Joanna Cherry Joanna Cherry Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice and Home Affairs), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 1:35 pm, 20th February 2019

Let there be no question: everyone in this House deplores Daesh and this young woman’s choices in going to join them, and of course there are security issues that must be addressed. However, the young woman we are talking about is British. She was radicalised in Britain. Daesh is a worldwide phenomenon, but she is our problem. Why is the Home Secretary not bringing her home to put her on trial here to be judged by a jury of her peers? Apart from anything else, she may have valuable intelligence and insights into how she was radicalised. Why is he washing his hands of this problem? He cited what Lord Carlile had to say, but if he, like me, was listening to the “Today” programme this morning, he will have heard Baron Anderson of Ipswich, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation from 2011 to 2017, suggest that we ought to be dealing with our own problems here.

I respectfully say that there is nothing that the Father of the House said with which I would disagree. The rule of law is fundamental to our democracy and if the Home Secretary thinks he can overlook the results of previous decisions, I would very gently suggest to him that he might want to seek a lecture about the doctrine of precedent from Victoria Atkins, who is sitting beside him on the Treasury Bench. Unless this young woman holds dual citizenship, he may be found to have acted in breach of UK and international law by rendering her stateless. My question is this: is that a risk he is willing to take? Is he more interested in playing to the populist gallery than respecting the rule of law?