Carmichael raises concerns about citizenship removal in Nationality and Borders Bill

Orkney and Shetland MP and Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael, has spoken out today during a debate on the government’s Nationality and Borders Bill. Amongst a range of controversial provisions in the Bill, Mr Carmichael raised concern about the government’s plans to enhance powers to strip UK nationals of their citizenship and the harm this risked to the rule of law, as well as the rushed nature of the Bill’s passage.

Speaking in the House, Mr Carmichael said:

“Foreign policy decisions that we make as a country and that we make in this place sooner or later have domestic policy implications. It does not matter how hard we try to ignore them, as we have with the rights of the Chagos islanders, or how hard we resist the logic of our decisions, as we have in the case of the Hongkongers until recent years—eventually they all require to be dealt with.

“Clause 10 restricts the rights of children who would be born in this country but who would otherwise be stateless. The point about Clause 9 is not only that the removal of citizenship is obnoxious but that removal without notice is supremely dangerous.

“One of the things we are dealing with here is the basic British sense of decency. We should not be using citizenship as some sort of tool for further punishment; there are plenty of other ways in which people who have done wrong can be punished.

“The immigration system is already so complex that it is virtually impenetrable to those who are not in some way legally qualified—and, as far as I can see, to many who are. It should not therefore be administered in such a way that it is open to the Government to make a profit from these cases. There are already sufficient financial barriers in place for those who wish to have citizenship, and we should not be putting a further financial barrier in their way.

“This Bill is far from properly scrutinised. There may well be reasons for that in the minds of the Government’s business managers, but, as is the case with trying to wish away the consequences of our foreign policy decisions, they will not carry any water when the Bill gets to the House of Lords, and I fear that we will not have heard the last of this Bill yet.”

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