Mercy Muroki: I’m staggered at the level of scaremongering that is being peddled over Clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Bill

Prominent Labour Peer Lord Woolley has said that Priti Patel's Nationality and Borders Bill will make black and Asian Brits like him 'second class citizens'.

Published Last updated

Prominent Labour Peer Lord Woolley has said that Priti Patel's Nationality and Borders Bill will make black and Asian Brits like him 'second class citizens'.

Why? Because under Clause 9 of the Bill, those who are eligible for citizenship of another country, can have their citizenship revoked without being served a notification.

The Bill in its entirety is aimed at 1) deterring illegal immigration, 2) making it easier to remove those who have no right to be in the UK, AND 3) more effectively dealing with those in genuine need of asylum.

But I'm staggered at the level of scaremongering that is being peddled when it comes to what this Clause 9 of the Bill does.

In December an so-called explainer in the New Statesman in popular political magazine claimed this, and I quote word for word, "Six million could be stripped of citizenship"…

These calculations were based on the number of people in the UK who are eligible for foreign citizenship.

Then came the flood of hysterical, doomsday claims that ordinary law abiding Brits like me could be deported at Priti Patel's whims. One lawyer proclaimed in the papers that the policy was "dangling a sword over the head of six million people".

Let's get some facts straight. Under the current law, the Home Secretary can only revoke someone's British citizenship for TWO reasons and two reasons only.

Firstly, if it is deemed "conducive to the public good" because for example, the person has committed acts of terrorism or war crimes.

The second and last reason someone can have their citizenship revoked is if the person fraudulently obtained their citizenship - so were never entitled to it in the first place.

Clause 9 does not change this – I repeat Clause 9 does not change this. It doesn't ADD to the very short list of serious and legitimate reasons people can be stripped of British citizenship.

In other words – unless you plan on committing fraud, being a terrorist, or a war criminal, you STILL don't need to worry about having your citizenship revoked under these proposals.

What the Bill DOES do is change the laws around notifying people about having their citizenship stripped. It gives the Home Office the power to take away citizenship without having notified someone ONLY in cases where it is not possible or safe to do so.

Basically – in the most EXCEPTIONAL circumstances. This, for example could be because the person is currently in a war zone, or because notifying them would reveal sensitive intelligence sources or compromise national security.

AND people still have the right to appeal this decision – so the decision isn't necessarily even final. Despite what the Bill's opponents want you to believe, this is not some blanket attempt to kick out SIX million foreign Brits.

It does not put ordinary, law abiding Brits in at any more risk.

And in any case, we're talking about tiny numbers of people who even fall foul of these rules. From 2010 to 2018, on average only 19 people were deprived of their British citizenship for 'public good' reasons – like terrorist related reasons.

And from 2012 to 2019, an average of 30 people had their citizenship deprived on the grounds of fraud.

As far as I'm concerned, the thing Clause 9 does is make it less complicated to remove citizenship from the minuscule proportion of people who deserve to have their citizenship revoked.

I am one of these supposedly 6 million people who COULD have my British citizenship revoked. I wasn't born in this country, and I only become a British citizen as a child.

But I will still sleep very well at night if and when Clause 9 comes into force. Because I'm not a fraudster, or an organised crime lord, terrorist, or a war criminal.

Only those who are need to worry about Clause 9 of the Nationality and Borders Bill.