Amendment 25

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill - Committee (1st Day) (Continued) – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 27th January 2022.

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Photo of Lord Hunt of Wirral Lord Hunt of Wirral Conservative 5:00 pm, 27th January 2022

My Lords, we have benefited from the intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, because he has reminded us that, although we have heard some very moving speeches going a little wide of the mark, Clause 9 is all about how you notify the unnotifiable.

I will go back to the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, and declare the interests that I have in the register. We as a House have to decide what we do about the criminals who wish to do us serious and long-lasting harm in the context of this. Perhaps it is too wide-ranging, but it is a necessary bid to try to ensure that, where we have people who wish to do us harm, they are somehow prevented from our giving them, under existing legislation, the ability to do so.

I have very carefully read the judgment of the Court of Appeal, and the key question that we now have to turn our minds to is whether we wish to empower the Secretary of State to deprive a person of citizenship without giving notice. In many ways, this debate should be all about that because, speaking I suppose as a practising solicitor, I cannot find Clause 9 as a change in the policy of deprivation of citizenship—the change proposed is all about notification. So Clause 9 does not allow the Home Secretary to remove citizenship on a whim, it is not targeted at particular ethnic minorities and it does not change the reasons why a person might be deprived of their British citizenship. Clause 9 does not remove the right to appeal a decision to deprive. I cannot see that law-abiding British citizens have anything to fear from Clause 9.

We are charged by the court in the following terms. Lady Justice Whipple said this in the ruling delivered yesterday:

“There may be good policy reasons for empowering the”

Home Secretary

“to deprive a person of citizenship without giving notice, but such a step is not lawful under this legislation. If the government wishes to empower the Secretary of State in that way, it must persuade Parliament to amend the primary legislation. That is what it is currently seeking to do under the Nationality and Borders Bill”.

She concluded, which brings us back to where we are now, that

“it is for Parliament to decide,”

This has been a valuable debate, but I think we have strayed too far from the key question: how do you notify the unnotifiable?

There are evil people. I am probably one of many Members of this House who has received letter bombs and death threats. When I was in the Cabinet, I had death threats from three separate organisations. Fortunately, the Post Office intercepted the letter bombs. There are people who wish to kill us, to injure us and to destroy the fabric of our society, and we must try to focus on how we are to stop that happening.