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'Like Shamima Begum, I could soon be stripped of British citizenship without notice'

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Writing in the Guardian, Tamil human rights lawyer at MTC Solicitors, Naga Kandiah, slammed the British government’s proposed Clause 9 to the nationality and borders bill which could see dual nationals stripped of their citizenship without notice.

The New Statement’s research, based on the 2011 census, reveals that as many as 5.6 million people living in England and Wales could be affected by the rule change.

Kandiah’s piece follows the case of Shamima Begum which has been in the public focus with regards to this rule change. Begum was stripped of her citizenship when she left the UK to join ISIS. This was enabled by a controversial provision introduced following the 2005 London bombings which enabled the Home Secretary to strip dual citizens of their British citizenship when “conducive to the public good”. This power was further strengthened in 2010 and 2014 and Clause 9 would further add to this.

The British Supreme court ruled in the government’s favour claiming that that stripping Begum of her citizenship was permitted as through her parents’ heritage she could claim Bangladeshi citizenship. This is despite Begum never having lived in the country. 

The British government maintains that Clause 9 would only exempt the government from providing notice when not “reasonably practicable” to do so, or in the interest of national security, diplomatic relations, or the public interest; Kandiah questions the ambiguity of these lines.

“How does the government define what is in the public interest? Could that include displeasing the government of the day, even if no crime is committed and no law is broken?”

Kandiah further highlights that the failure to notify victims will leave them on the backfoot and highlighted the case of R V Secretary of State for the Home Department 2003. In this case, Lord Steyn stressed the importance of notice “as a key component of fair decision-making, stating that fairness is the guiding principle of our public law and that fairness requires that a decision takes effect only upon communication” Kandiah writes.

“Those of us among the 5.6 million who are people of colour will sleep less easily in our beds if this clause becomes law” he writes.

Read the full piece on the Guardian.


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