My Lords, I have been very pleasantly surprised to see the level of public anger that has been expressed against Clause 9. People are rightly absolutely furious to learn that there is a two-tier system of citizenship in this country, where if you have a second nationality you are at risk of the Government withdrawing your British citizenship. That is pretty grim. However, it is concerning that some people are suggesting this is something new. It is not new; it is already the law that dual citizens can have their British citizenship revoked with the very wishy-washy legal test of it being conducive to the public good.
That is why my noble friend Lady Bennett of Manor Castle has tabled Amendments 32 and 33. These will revoke the power of the Government to remove people’s British citizenship unless their citizenship was obtained by fraud or deception. Clause 9 extends the power, but simply defeating Clause 9 will not remove the power. I hope that we can work with noble Lords to remove the power on Report to eliminate this two-tier system of citizenship.
While we are discussing numbers, since 2006 the legal website Free Movement has found that at least 464 people have been stripped of their British citizenship. For comparison, in the 30 years before 2003 no one had been stripped of citizenship. So much for transparency —this could be discovered only through research, as the Government do not provide any sort of regular reporting on the figures. I ask the Minister if the Government will start doing that, so we can keep track and be fully aware of what they are doing.