Immigration Bill


The Immigration Bill has passed its final stage of scrutiny before becoming a law after peers accepted a government concession on plans to strip foreign-born terror suspects of their British citizenship, so that the power can only be used if there are "reasonable grounds" to believe an individual can become a citizen elsewhere.

The government is proposing to give the home secretary the power to remove the citizenship of someone who holds only UK nationality, if their conduct is deemed "seriously prejudicial" to the UK.

The concession, debated by peers on 12 May 2014, came after a previous government defeat in the House of Lords which saw peers introduce a requirement for a joint select committee review of the policy before the home secretary is given this power.

Critics of the plan had complained that Britain would be undermining its international obligations by leaving individuals permanently stateless.

Calling the move a "substantial concession" Lord Pannick, who tabled the original amendment to the government's plans, gave his support to the bill.

"On the basis of my understanding of the clause I think this is a very substantial and a very welcome concession by the government."

Labour however pushed the amendment to vote stating that some of the implications of the change had not yet been fully understood - including what would happen to a person rendered stateless who was not able to obtain the citizenship the Home Secretary believed they would be able to gain.

"It's important that we understand the implications for the security of the country and the individuals in this country," shadow home affairs spokeswoman Baroness Smith of Baslidon told the house.

"One of the dangers of leaving someone stateless, abroad or in this country, is that they can't then leave and are stuck."

Peers agreed to the concession 286 votes to 193 - a majority of 93.

Earlier an amendment to create guardians for child victims of human trafficking, which had been a sticking point for the Lords, was dropped after Lord Taylor told the House that the measure would be picked up in a separate Modern Slavery Bill.

The bill will now receive Royal Assent before becoming an act of parliament and enshrined into law.

Following the debate Government chief whip Baroness Anelay of St John's announced that the prorogation of the House of Lords would take place on Wednesday 14 May 2014.

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