Amendment 25

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill - Committee (1st Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 27th January 2022.

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Photo of Lord Blunkett Lord Blunkett Labour 4:30 pm, 27th January 2022

My Lords, reference has understandably been made to one of the Acts which came to fruition when I was Home Secretary, and I do not resile from that. I speak this afternoon because this is a critically important debate, and the contributions so far have been both informative and enlightening.

Amendment 28 from the noble Lord, Anderson, has a great deal of merit. I say to the noble Lord, Lord Moylan, for whom I have the most enormous respect and good will from working together on a whole range of other issues, that simply going back to day zero is not necessarily the best answer for the solution we are seeking. If we could find a way forward on Report that takes away the genuine fear from millions of people who believe—erroneously, but they believe it—that Clause 9 as drafted and the implementation of further measures will put them and their families at risk, then we will have done a good job in clarifying the situation.

To put things in perspective, the reason that there was a change from the early 20th century onwards has a great deal to do with the nature of dual citizenship, the way in which global movements have changed quite dramatically and the consequences of global franchise terrorism, which did not exist before. Our main threat, as we all know, up to the beginning of this century, was seen to be from the conflict in Ireland.

To be fair to the Minister, an effort to try to bring the present situation up to date is understandable, but the way it is being done is not. I do not think that the 2002 legislation, implemented in 2003, actually went too far. It was done on the back of the attack on the World Trade Center and beyond, and it was necessary to take into account the dangers that were foreseen and the people who were known to be a danger to our country. I thought that the measures taken at the time seemed to be proportionate. We can debate whether they were or were not, but it is absolutely clear that simply going further and further without justification is not appropriate in our democracy. A step back and a reflection on what it is we are trying to achieve, and why, would be beneficial.

By the way, I do not consider that the measures I was involved in were about punishing anybody. They were about protecting people from those embedded in the community who were no longer committed to our democratic society; in other words, those who had forfeited this part of their dual citizenship—citizenship of our country—because of the actions they took or were prepared to take. These were the actions of individuals, not actions imposed by government.

Let us try, if we can, to get this right on Report. If we can do that, we will take away that fear, which I think is the main reason why we should remove Clause 9.