New Bill Quietly Gives Powers To Remove British Citizenship Without Notice

Jesse Williams

By Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

18 Nov 2021

People could see their citizenship stripped from them without notice under a new rule quietly added to the proposed nationality and borders bill.

“Notice of decision to deprive a person of citizenship” or Clause 9 of the bill exempts the government from having to give notice to someone of a change in their citizenship status if it is not in the interests of national security, diplomatic relations, the general public interest or simply “reasonably practicable” to do so.

Sponsored by Home Secretary Priti Patel the bill is currently proceeding through the House of Commons but has yet to be considered by the House of Lords.

The move predictably has faced strong criticism online, with Twitter users describing it as “disgusting” and “like something out of a nightmare”.

“British citizenship is a privilege, not a right. Deprivation of citizenship on conducive grounds is rightly reserved for those who pose a threat to the UK or whose conduct involves very high harm,” a Home Office spokesperson said.

“The Bill doesn’t extend our power to remove citizenship. The requirement to give notice of a decision to deprive citizenship will be disapplied where it is not practicable to do so.”

The UK first introduced measures that allowed British-born nationals and naturalised citizens to lose their nationality rights in 2002. Following the 2005 bombings these powers were broadened by successive administrations.