Coffee House

Serious concerns about plans to render terror suspects ‘stateless’

31 January 2014

The row over the Immigration Bill is by no means over. It will go to the Lords next, where peers will doubtless have a few things to say about certain aspects of it. Theresa May is still in a hurry to get it through Parliament, so there will likely be some interesting tricks from the government side to try to speed things up. But Conservative MPs are also very concerned about something they backed last night which gained far less attention.

The Home Secretary rushed out an amendment on Wednesday night which would render ‘stateless’ foreign-born terror suspects. The details are actually rather alarming: someone who had already naturalised in this country would have their passport taken away from them. Although Conservative backbenchers voted in favour of it, they did so with a great deal of confusion and worry. Some remarked that they had campaigned against similar situations in other countries.


Jacob Rees-Mogg, hardly a soft lefty Conservative, told the Chamber that the proposal could ‘create a potential unfairness and a second category of citizen’ and that he was worried about the sort of message it could ‘send to the nation at large’. In the end, I understand the MPs were bought off by the promise of a briefing on the change and backed it, although a handful of Liberal Democrats – John Leech, Mike Crockart, Julian Huppert, Sarah Teather, David Ward Mike Thornton and intriguingly, Duncan Hames, who was until very recently Nick Clegg’s PPS – voted against. Last night Ken Clarke seemed to think it was a rebel amendment on Question Time, saying:

‘If this is actually a proposition that’s going to be put forward and developed, I would consult my very good friend the Attorney General Dominic Grieve and ask for his opinion and ask him to satisfy me we were doing so in a way that was compatible with the rule of law.’

If the Lords rejects new clause 18, which introduces this policy, and it returns to the Commons for ‘ping-pong’, then Tory MPs will need to have been reassured by the promised briefing. Otherwise the chances are that the whips could find themselves trying to stop another rebellion over a clause that was introduced largely to stop a rebellion.

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  • fateme
  • telemachus

    As I posted yesterday
    “render ‘stateless’ foreign-born terror suspects.”


    So Faragians will point a finger to anyone looking like an Iman and hey presto his passport is gone
    Bingo back to Jordanian torture cells
    Tory MP’s are right to be concerned
    This will never pass the Lords

  • BoiledCabbage

    Merely the point of recognition that the UK faces a step-change in the terror threat as a result of Syria.

  • swatnan

    Maybe we should create a ‘stateless’ State for all of them to be deported to ie St Helena, or even Guantanamo, when the Americans leave.

  • Tom M

    Well at least the home secretary is doing something about the immigration problems which is something that could not be claimed by the previous government.

  • HookesLaw

    Tory MPs who do not ant to bomb Assad an then moan when a tory Home Secretary wants to be rid of overseas terrorists. Thewse people are not people just wonderd back from their summer holidays they are people who have come back from places like Syria.
    A tory Home Secretary plainly wanting to be tough on terrorism and look at all the howls of protest.

    • James Strong

      My howls of protest are because I want to maintain as far as possible my residence in a country that respects due process of law.
      Surely you cannot be ignorant of the difference between a suspect and a criminal.
      I say again, prosecute and if convicted then punish severely.
      But I am horrified at the idea of differential grades of non-criminals.
      How many grades of suspect do you want, and what punishment will those suspects face?
      If you trust governments to restrict in future this appalling proposal to just ‘terrorist’ suspects then you are more trusting than me.
      The evidence is clear from the ‘serious crime’ legislation that led to the conviction of Maya Evans for reading the names of war dead at the Cenotaph.
      And that’s just an example I can find off the top of my head.
      This is a potential attack on all of us : punishment must come after criminal conviction, not otherwise.

  • James Strong

    It can’t be said too often – Suspects.
    I do not want my country to go down the path of punishing people who are not criminals.
    Prosecute, and if convicted then punish severely.
    But it is appalling, and dangerous,dangerous to all of us, to punish people who haven’t been convicted of a crime.
    This needs to be stopped.

    • The_greyhound

      It can’t be said too often. Bloody foreigners.

      The country would be a better place without any of them, so by all means deport any and all of them suspected of any offence at all. Please remember that none of them have any business being here in the first place.

      This is my country, and and I never gave you or your likes my permission to allow it to be colonised by its enemies.

      • James Strong

        You are making an error of fact.
        The proposal is about naturalised Britons. Foreign born certainly but now British, and they should have same rights as me.
        I have no objection at all to removing foreigners.
        And your implication that I am in favour of colonolisation by our enemies is laughable.There are literally scores of comments by me denouncing the RoP, and advocating votes for UKIP.
        However, I am deeply concerned about the threat to the Rule of Law, and I reject the idea that governments will only use powers that they grant themselves in the way that they say they will.
        I will continue to oppose you and your likes in your efforts to advance the authoritarian powers of government against those who have not been found guilty of a crime.

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    Apologies for sounding ill-informed but the headline would imply that we were about to copy the basis of what goes on in Gitmo. You cannot be serious.

  • Peter L

    A simple tip for all politicians – the first step in solving
    a problem is to stop making it worse.

    So stop handing out passports like confetti. To allow someone with ten years’ residence,proof of employment and taxpaying, good written and spoken English and no criminal record to take citizenship might be reasonable.

    The current free-for-all isn’t.

    • Daniel Maris

      Yep. And complain to BBC and Sky relentlessly until they stop referring to resident aliens as “British residents” – a completely made up status being promoted by groups like Liberty.

    • Agrippina

      Agreed for the adults. But their children cannot apply for citizenship until they are 21yrs old. It they have an unblemished record, they may be granted citizenship over the next 2yrs, if not, they will have to return as adults from whence they came.

      The 15yr old italian Chindamo who killed Mr Lawrence the Headmaster would have been deported back to Italy after serving his sentence, he wasn’t because he had been here since aged 5.

      • Peter L

        I see your point, Agrippina, and I don’t think we’d disagree
        on Chindamo – a nasty piece of work who served a pathetically short sentence for a vicious murder.

        However, I was addressing the issue of passport holders. Chindamo
        was not a British citizen, but was allowed to remain in the UK after release because of (1) his time spent in the UK allowed him to be a “permanent resident” and there were no “serious grounds of public security”. Not sure I’d agree if I was the guy he mugged
        a few months after first getting out, but there y’go.

        He also had, of course, his “right to a family” life. Apparently the sensitive soul couldn’t be deprived of his Mummy and siblings. Not
        sure why we grant that right to those who have deprived it to

        • Agrippina

          I understand the EU dimension. I suppose I was really thinking of the african, asian and latinos who have come over seeking asylum with their parents and been involved in crime and gang violence who cannot be deported even though they should be.

          Thus, if only the adults could gain citizenship in the way you state. The criminality of their children would exclude them from gaining rights as adults and may even mean the parents would have to supervise their offspring properly.

          Chindamo nasty gang member, where were his parents at 15, certainly too late when he got out of jail at 30!

  • David_Boothroyd

    The United Kingdom is a party to the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness of 1961. Article 8 of the Convention is quite clear: “A Contracting State shall not deprive a person of its nationality if such deprivation would render him stateless.”

    • Colonel Mustard

      It’s also a party to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples but weaseled out of a definition of that as it relates to the UK to avoid awkward questions about your party’s behaviour when it comes to Article 8:-

      Article 8

      1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture (e.g. in order “to rub the right’s nose in diversity”).

      2. States shall provide effective mechanisms for prevention of, and redress for:

      (a) Any action which has the aim or effect of depriving them of their integrity as distinct peoples, or of their cultural values or ethnic identities; (Currently I believe you and your party like to refer to the English as a “mongrel race” in order to deprive them of that integrity.)

      (b) Any action which has the aim or effect of dispossessing them of their lands, territories or resources; (As in the level of mass immigration sponsored by your party and its impact on our infrastructure.)

      (c) Any form of forced population transfer which has the aim or effect of violating or undermining any of their rights;

      (d) Any form of forced assimilation or integration; (As in declaring this to be a multi-cultural society without the consent of the historic English people.)

      (e) Any form of propaganda designed to promote or incite racial or ethnic discrimination directed against them. (As in the use of the terms “mongrel race” and “little englanders” to denigrate those who wish to preserve the integrity mentioned at (a).)

      Is there a mechanism of prevention or redress for the English people?

    • Mynydd

      I would add: If Mr Cameron/May broke the Convention and made a convicted terrorist stateless, by taking away their UK citizenship, that terrorist could not then be deported. Airlines will not knowingly brake international law and transport people without a passport and valid visa for the receiving country. Is it to much to ask for Mr Cameron/May and Conservative rebels to understand basics.

  • LadyDingDong

    I hold dual nationality with Cyprus and if I find myself in difficulty there my British nationality counts for nothing and I can expect no help from British officialdom. There were (and still may be) restrictions on passing my British nationality to any children I may have who are born outside the UK. In this respect it could be said that I have a second-class British nationality. If I were to commit a terrorist offence and had my British passport removed, I would still have my Cyprus nationality. So what’s the problem with the excellent May’s bill?

    • Alex

      It doesn’t require the government to have proved that you have committed a terrorist offence. That’s the problem.
      You know, that whole inconvenient ‘innocent until proven guilty’ idea.


    I would also say that it is the Home Secretary, (a politician), that gets the blame for foreign criminals and terrorists, not the judges or the human rights brigade. So if she gets the blame, we must give her the power to do something about it.

    • Mynydd

      A Home Secretary already has the power to do something about it. The Home Secretary can at any time bring a well constructed bill to the House of Commons. Then following due process HM the Queen will sign it off as an Act of Parliament. You will note the human rights brigade are not involved in this procedure and judges must apply law as laid down in the Act.


    Fighting against Britain abroad is treason if you are a British citizen, so why shouldn’t they lose their citizenship. When they become a British citizen they have a new loyalty, no matter what their culture or religion is. If that’s not acceptable to them then they should not become a British citizen in the first place. We need to bring back the death penalty for treason. These people want their cake and eat it.

    • Alex

      The key word is ‘suspects’.
      Isn’t ‘innocent until proven guilty’ a meaningful concept in the UK any more?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Depends. Not if the alleged victims are any one of the token socialist agenda groups. It was amusing to hear the ghastly Smurthwaite make this point on QT last night and to just know that any men accused of rape or other offences against the female would not receive the same degree of distinction between suspect and convict from her.

        I believe in the rule of law when it is applied evenly to all but the current application is too often politically motivated.

        • Mynydd

          Do you mean the courts sitting now there is a Conservative government are politically motivated

          • Colonel Mustard

            I didn’t mention courts, you did.

            • Mynydd

              The courts apply the law

              • Colonel Mustard

                Only once it has been enforced by New Labour’s police and prosecuted by New Labour’s CPS.

        • telemachus

          Smurthwaite has an interesting website:
          “a powerhouse of observational wit”
          The Spectator

  • telemachus

    “render ‘stateless’ foreign-born terror suspects.”
    So Faragians will point a finger to anyone looking like an Iman and hey presto his passport is gone
    Bingo back to Jordanian torture cells
    Tory MP’s are right to be concerned
    This will never pass the Lords

    • Colonel Mustard

      You wanted Faragians to be the subject of trumped up charges. You also believe they have no right to exist.

      So we’ll take no lectures on the rule of law from a throwback of Stalin’s OGPU thank you.

      • telemachus

        Farage:  “I will give you a story:  This is what our lords and masters in the European Union are now planning.  They are now planning a ‘Police Cooperation Plan’ across Europe that will include surveillance and intelligence gathering.  But here is the new bit:  ‘Remote Vehicle Stopping Technology.’ 

        Now just get a handle on this.  The EU wants the ability and wants the power when it’s tracking our cars as they travel across Europe, if they don’t like what we are doing they would have something built in to all new cars that would allow them to press a button and literally stop our car from running.  Can you believe the lengths to which these people are prepared to go?

        You heard it first here (on King World News), and I must say, it just shows you the mindset and the mentality that are being built here within Brussels.  They’ve already talked to all of the car manufacturers.  They’ve got the technology ready to do this.  All they need to do it to bully it through the European institutions and we’re going to end up living in something that even (George) Orwell couldn’t have even invented.”

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