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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 Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Secretary of State for the Home Department 1:35 pm, 20th February 2019

Let me say a couple of things to the hon. and learned Lady; again, I cannot talk about an individual case, but I will try to answer her questions. Every decision on deprivation—I think I speak for all former Home Secretaries who, under successive Governments, have made decisions on deprivation—are weighed up very carefully. The Government and officials in the Government—these decisions have been made over a number of years under successive Governments—will be looking at legal cases individually, on a case-by-case basis. Of course, that would take into account any judgments in court that may be relevant. I am not proclaiming to be an expert on the law in this matter, and a decision like this would not be taken—certainly not by me—without my officials, who are the experts in the law. I know that the hon. and learned Lady is a distinguished lawyer, but I do not think that she is an expert on this particular issue, and it is important to listen to experts on this.

I also gently say to the hon. and learned Lady that it was in July, not that long ago, when another case was considered in an urgent question—the Kotey/Elsheikh case, again, related to foreign fighters—and in a similar way to now, she accused the Government of “departing from” Government policy. That was her language at the time. She went on to talk about how we were ignoring

“our long-standing policy on the death penalty”.—[Official Report, 23 July 2018;
Vol. 645, c. 728.]

That was her accusation at the time. She will know that many months later, that case was looked at by the courts, quite properly—as is their job—and they ruled in the Government’s favour on all five counts, so if anyone is trying to play politics with this judgment, I think it is the hon. and learned Lady.