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British Nationality

Home Office written question – answered on 6th March 2019.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the criteria for depriving British citizens of their nationality; what safeguards international law provides for such deprivation; and what additional safeguards they have put in place to ensure that the deprivation of citizenship is used only as a last resort.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development)

The power to deprive a person of their British citizenship is found in Section 40 of the British Nationality Act 1981. Any individual may be deprived of their British citizenship if the Secretary of State is satisfied that it would be conducive to the public good and all such decisions are taken personally by the Home Secretary.

Decisions to deprive can be made on conducive grounds where individuals pose a threat to national security, have been involved in war crimes, serious and organised crime, or demonstrated unacceptable behaviours such as extremism, fomenting hatred, or glorifying terrorist violence.

Decisions to deprive are compatible with the UK’s international obligations under the UN Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. The threshold for such decisions is high and the power is used sparingly. All decisions include an assessment of whether it is reasonable and proportionate to deprive to protect the fundamental interests of society.

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