Main content

Citizenship

Clive Anderson and guests ask if the Home Office should have the power to take away the citizenship of someone born and brought up in Britain.

Clive Anderson and guests discuss whether the Home Office should have the power to take away the citizenship of someone born and brought up in Britain.

If a British person travels to Syria and joins a proscribed terrorist group, should they be allowed to keep their British citizenship? The case of Shamima Begum, whose citizenship was revoked earlier this year, made headlines - but she’s far from the only British-born person to have her passport taken away. In 2017, the Home Office issued 104 deprivation of citizenship orders in cases where the Secretary of State believed that the deprivation was “conducive to the public good”.

Are these deprivations a vital tool in our fight against terrorism, or a worrying move towards turning citizenship into a privilege rather than an inalienable right.

Immigration lawyer Fahad Ansari argues that, by revoking citizenship from people who have the right to citizenship in another country, the government is creating a two-tier system, where someone with family ties outside Britain can be treated differently to someone without them. The former independent reviewer of terrorism legislation Lord Carlile says that we need to be able to protect the public from people who intend to carry out terror attacks and removing citizenship is one way to do that, particularly where there is not enough evidence for a criminal trial.

Clive’s guests will also explore what’s required to become a British citizen, attempting to answer some questions from the Life in the UK test with Professor Thom Brooks from Durham Law School – himself a dual British-US citizen.

Producer: Hannah Marshall
A 7digital production for BBC Radio 4

Available now

43 minutes

Broadcasts