Thank you to those who have contacted me with your concerns about measures in the Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill relating to citizenship
Firstly, I am opposed to this Bill. I have voted against it in the House of Commons at every opportunity because I believe it is a clear breach of the 1951 Refugee Convention, as the UN and others have warned. I do not believe the proposals in the Bill will address the increasing numbers of people crossing the English Channel in small boats, and I fear that they will reduce support for victims of human trafficking. I am also concerned that the Bill does nothing to address the breakdown in the asylum system that the Government has overseen since 2010.
Regarding the specific concerns raised about Clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Bill and citizenship, the British Nationality Act 1981 allows the Home Secretary to deprive any person of their British citizenship should they deem it conducive to the public good to do so. An individual can only be deprived of their British citizenship if it will not leave them stateless, where they are a dual national or, in some limited circumstances, where they have the right to citizenship elsewhere.
Clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Bill would remove the requirement on the Home Secretary to give written notice to the individual being deprived of their British citizenship if it is not reasonably practicable. Recent years have seen a dramatic increase in the use of citizenship deprivation and I understand that Clause 9 has caused a lot of concern, particularly amongst dual nationals and ethnic minority communities.
I believe Clause 9 is a draconian measure and I have supported amendments that would remove it from the Bill. Most recently, during Commons consideration of Lords amendments on 22 March 2022, I voted to remove Clause 9. Unfortunately, the Government blocked this attempt by 318 votes to 223.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.