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Peers launch bid to neuter controversial ‘stateless’ plan in Immigration Bill

28 March 2014

Remember that rather curious change to the Immigration Bill that would render foreign-born terror suspects ‘stateless’ that ministers managed to sneak through while most MPs were in a tizz about Dominic Raab? Well, it’s facing its first major battle in the House of Lords soon, with a group of peers tabling an amendment which would in effect neuter it or spark a row in the Commons.

The new clause, tabled by crossbenchers Lord Pannick and Lord Brown, Lib Dem former Director of Public Prosecutions Lord Macdonald and Labour’s Baroness Smith, proposes setting up a committee of MPs and peers to consider whether the stateless policy should go ahead.


This proposal is the sort of thing that peers love because it sounds nice and reasonable and as though it is allowing more time for deep consideration and scrutiny of a proposal. Which makes it the sort of thing that ministers, keen to get the darned thing on the statute books, hate as it slows everything up. It also has two respected crossbenchers in Brown and Pannick – and Brown could well encourage some Toryish votes along with him – and an expert in Macdonald. Peers were not particularly satisfied by the explanations the government offered at report stage – and Lord Taylor of Holbeach who offered the explanations didn’t seem that happy either, telling the Lords that ‘I apologise for not answering all the questions but I have done my best’.

Labour will whip its peers to support the measure too. I understand that the party will also try to amend any government amendments which try to duck the issue. The clause will be debated at report stage of the Bill on 7 April, and ministers will need to get cracking to avoid this amendment passing so that it doesn’t return to the Commons, where many MPs were most unsettled by the proposal which they felt bounced into supporting. The last thing the Coalition needs is another row about immigration when so little is going on in Parliament.

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  • HookesLaw

    A good argument for abolishing the House of Lords.

  • Mynydd

    Stateless persons, that is those without papers, are the responsibility of the United Nations, therefore they should be taken to the nearest office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). The UNHCR can then provide papers and arrange travel to a country that’s prepared to accept them. If no country is prepared to accept them then UNHCR will place them in a refugee camp and feed and water them. This has been the system since the end of WWII. I don’t understand why we don’t just do this, stateless persons are not our responsibility, full stop.

  • alabenn

    The last thing the Coalition needs is another row about immigration when so little is going on in Parliament.
    So Isabel, lets keep these people who will try or have murdered British citizens to further Islam their religious ideology, so let them continue to do so, just so the coalition can have a quiet time.

  • anyfool

    These peers need to be slapped down now.
    There is hundreds of traitorous supposed British citizens fighting and training in Syria, they are not there because of any affinity with the Syrians, they are there to practice for futures events in the UK.
    That reason is the only good reason to give thanks for the Afghan war, it has provided us with men somewhat trained in fighting these creatures if the need arises.

  • Framer

    The Somali terror suspect in question, who the Home Office said they could not deport, had obtained British nationality. He had not lost Somali nationality. That country apparently (see Wikipedia) does not, like some (India?), deem you to have abandoned your first nationality if you are granted another.
    He became a dual national in effect. However some witless Home Office legal adviser said he would become stateless if his British citizenship was removed. This was simply wrong. Beware of the statist bleeding hearts in the Lords who now predominate on matters of ‘diversity’.

  • Colonel Mustard

    “It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre.”

    So determined are they to ensure that every foreigner is treated preferentially, regardless of motivation, that they will happily destroy the cohesion and peace of our society to that purpose. What indulgence, what largesse on behalf of their own pompous vanity and at the expense of British children as yet unborn.

  • Tony_E

    Just because someone destroys their papers and refuses to tell the truth about where they came from, it does not convey some responsibility on the British people to accept them as a Briton, especially when they have been seen to be a danger to the country or its people.

    Currently it is very easy for a potential terrorist to come to the UK, having destroyed travel papers, and claim asylum, having claimed to come from a country which we know has a repressive regime, and find themselves almost impossible to deport.

    The first and only consideration for admission to or leave to remain in the UK should be the safety of the UK itself. All other considerations should be secondary to that concern, and should only be in issue once that concern has been satisfied.

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