Liberal Democrats

F34: Deprivation of Citizenship

18 members

Mover: Rt Hon Sir Edward Davey MP (Spokesperson for Home Affairs).

Summation: Nasser Butt.

Conference notes that:

  1. Under the British Nationality Act 1981, the Home Secretary has the power to deprive a British citizen of their citizenship if either:
    1. Their citizenship has been obtained through fraud, false representation or concealment of material fact.
    2. The Home Secretary "is satisfied that deprivation is conducive to the public good".
  2. The deprivation power in A. ii) has been expanded in 2002, 2006 and 2014, so that it now covers British-born citizens and so that naturalised British citizens can now be made stateless for acts that are "seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK".
  3. No-one was deprived of their British citizenship between 1973 and 2002, but recent Conservative Home Secretaries have dramatically increased the use of the power in A. ii) - from four cases in 2014 and five in 2015 to 14 in 2016 and 104 in 2017.
  4. There have been recent cases where the Home Secretary unlawfully made British-born people stateless by depriving them of their citizenship.
  5. The UK has ratified the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness but not the 1997 European Convention on Nationality, which prevents states from making people stateless unless their citizenship was obtained through fraud, false information or concealment of fact.

Conference believes that:

  1. People born British should not be deprived of their British citizenship under any circumstances - those who commit crimes should face justice in the UK.
  2. The requirement that the Home Secretary "is satisfied that deprivation is conducive to the public good" is too low a bar for deprivation of citizenship.
  3. No one should be made stateless by the UK Government, unless they obtained their British citizenship through misrepresentation or fraud.
  4. The decision to strip someone of their citizenship must never be a political one, and the power should not rest with the Home Secretary alone.
  5. Anyone deprived of their citizenship must have a genuine ability to appeal the decision.
  6. The power to deprive someone of the citizenship is a draconian one, and its exercise must be subject to close scrutiny.

Conference calls for:

  1. The power to deprive someone of their British citizenship to be restricted to naturalised citizens, in cases where either:
    1. Citizenship has been obtained through fraud, false representation or concealment of material fact.
    2. The person has done something seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the United Kingdom, and deprivation of citizenship is a proportionate response to such conduct and necessary for the national security of the United Kingdom.
  2. The power in 1. b) to be further restricted so that it cannot be used if it would make someone stateless.
  3. The best interests of any child affected by the use of this power always to be taken into account.
  4. The process to be reformed, so that the Home Secretary must apply to a court for permission to deprive someone of citizenship and demonstrate that the requirements in 1., 2. and 3. have been met.
  5. The right to appeal deprivation of citizenship to be strengthened, by requiring the Home Secretary to disclose to the individual concerned sufficient information to enable them to effectively instruct their special advocate.
  6. The Government to publish annual reports on its use of this power, and the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation to review its use at least once every three years.
  7. The UK to ratify the 1997 European Convention on Nationality.

Applicability: Federal.

Mover: 7 minutes; summation of motion and movers and summation of any amendments: 4 minutes; all other speakers: 3 minutes. For eligibility and procedure for speaking in this debate, see page 4.

The deadline for amendments to this motion is 13.00, Monday 2 September; see page 6. Amendments selected for debate will be printed in Conference Extra and Tuesday's Conference Daily. The deadline for requests for separate votes is 09.00 Monday 16 September; see page 3.

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