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  • Writer's pictureThe Legal Digest

Nationality and Borders Bill

Updated: Jul 14, 2022

Priti Patel’s alarming latest addition to the Nationality and Borders Bill includes a clause which gives the Home Office powers to strip British citizens of their citizenship without any notice, even citizens that were born in the UK.

The proposals introduced into the Bill exempts the Home Office from giving notice to the citizen, if giving notice was deemed a threat to national security, not in the public interest or impractical to do so. This addition is a cause for real concern and a move which needs to be approached with debate and caution.

Let’s not forget what history has taught us about governments that have powers to intervene without cause and without trial such as 1930’s Germany for example, implemented very similar powers to these initially. In addition to being able to strip citizenship, the Home Office will be permitted to do so even if it leaves the individual stateless.

The wide provisions in this clause “threat to national security, not in the public interest and impractical” gives the Home Office a wide berth to use these for any reason. There is no right to appeal and the Home Office argues that British citizenship is a privilege, not a right.

On the contrary, citizenship is a right and is protected by various international legislation and treaties that the UK is a signatory to and the proposals raise legal questions around how far the government will go to exert its authority.

Priti Patel’s approach to governance come across as very heavy handed and even if the Bill is aimed at situations such as terrorist related crimes, the widely drafted provisions extend way beyond those scenarios.


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