As you will be aware, in order to protect this country, the Home Secretary has the power to deprive someone of their British citizenship where it would not render them stateless. This power has been in place for more than a hundred years and has been used by successive Home Secretaries.
I would like to assure you that any decision to deprive an individual of their citizenship is only used in exceptional circumstances where there is a significant threat to the public, such as from a terrorist, and based on all available evidence, including secret intelligence. Furthermore, it is never used to target people because of their ethnic or religious background, and it always comes with a right of appeal. The Nationality and Borders Act does not change that.
I fully support the ability for the Home Secretary to deprive citizenship on conducive grounds. This is of course reserved for those who pose a threat to the UK or whose conduct involves very high harm. What the Nationality and Borders Act does is amend the law in order to allow the deprivation of citizenship where it is not practicable to provide notice. This could be in a case where there is no way of communicating with the individual, for example if they are in a war zone.
I do, however, welcome the fact that the Government amended the legislation during its passage through Parliament to increase safeguards for those subject to a deprivation decision. It is right that these provisions will protect the rights of the individual while delivering the Government's security objectives.
I also welcome the Government’s work, including through the Windrush Compensation Scheme, to rectify the terrible injustices faced by some people from the Windrush generation and the wider Commonwealth, all of which took place under successive governments. I would therefore like to reassure you that Clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Act will not result in a such a repeat. To be clear, this is a century-old power used only against the most dangerous people such as terrorists, and the amending clause does not change the circumstances under which a person can be deprived of British citizenship, nor does it remove the right of appeal against a decision to deprive a person of their citizenship.
However, it cannot be right that we risk the UK's interests to make contact with dangerous individuals who wish us harm, nor is it right to allow them to exploit a loophole in legislation and retain the benefits of British citizenship simply by removing themselves from contact with the Government or relocating to a place where notice could not reasonably be sent. Clause 9 will, therefore, remedy this situation.