My Lords, I am also not a lawyer, but we have Amendment 29 in this group and we join the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, in opposing the Question that Clause 9 stand part of the Bill. I accept that Clause 9 is about giving notice, but the amendments in the group go beyond that. The main concerns that this group addresses are the significant increase in the use of the power to deprive British citizens of their citizenship and the new provision of dispensing with the requirement that the Secretary of State requires notice to be given to a person deprived of citizenship.
There have been many detailed and compelling speeches and I do not intend to repeat them, but I will refer to the powerful and personal speech of the noble Baroness, Lady Warsi, about how this provision is affecting some British citizens. This is not going to affect some British citizens, like me, at all, but when you hear her personal recollections of the fear that this clause is generating and about the importance of the family attaché case—reinforced by the noble Baroness, Lady Mobarik—you understand that, although it may not be targeting particular communities within the cohort of British citizens, it is certainly causing distress among certain parts of that cohort.
To answer the question of the noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Wirral, on what we do with those people who wish to do us harm, I say that we prosecute them in the courts. We do not dump them on other countries.
Depriving someone of their citizenship is a very serious step to take and it is being taken with increasing regularity. To then do away with the requirement even to notify the subject is totally unacceptable. How can anyone take any steps to correct or challenge a decision that they know nothing about? The noble Lord, Lord Hunt, talked about how we notify the unnotifiable. Even in the case that he and other noble Lords referred to, which has been in the courts, the individuals were not uncontactable; they were not unnotifiable within the law. As the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, explained, notice could have been served on that individual, but the Home Office chose not to. In the figures he gave about how many times that has stopped the Home Office from serving notice on somebody of deprivation of nationality, the answer was zero. Clause 9 is not only unreasonable but, based on the facts, unnecessary as well.
With the increased use by the Secretary of State of the power to deprive a British citizen of their citizenship, we support Amendment 28 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Anderson of Ipswich, which says that reviews of the use of the power should be annual and not every three years. We also agree with Amendment 27 in the name of the noble Lord, Lord Moylan, to restrict the circumstances in which someone can be deprived of their British citizenship. My noble friend Lady Hamwee will address our Amendment 29, which removes the power of the Secretary of State to directly deprive a British citizen of their citizenship, requiring an application to be made to a court.
We agree with the principle behind Amendments 32 and 33 in the name of the noble Baroness, Lady Bennett of Manor Castle, that the powers the Secretary of State has to deprive British citizens of their citizenship need to be curtailed and the process made more transparent, but we believe that our Amendment 29 achieves those objectives.