An angry MP attacked Boris Johnson in a row today for deportations and asked him, “When is he coming to see me?”
Labor MP Imran Hussain alleged that the Nationalities and Borders Act could result in his and other ethnic minorities being stripped of their citizenship.
He was greeted with shouts of “shame” from Tory MPs and the prime minister hit back, saying his comment was “shameful”.
The Bradford East MP was furious: “My grandfather came to this country with thousands of others 70 years ago to work seven days a week in appalling conditions to help rebuild this country.
“Still, the Home Secretary’s Nationality and Boundaries Act means she can withdraw our British citizenship and deport us for even the smallest offenses.
“Given the government and Home Office’s terrible track record in dealing with minorities, the hostile environment and the Windrush scandals, I want to ask the Prime Minister the burning question that is now on the lips of bame people across the country.
“When is he coming to me?”
The prime minister struggled, telling him to look at the Tory front bench today and tell him to “withdraw what he just said”.
Johnson added, “He should withdraw what he said is utterly shameful, and as he well knows, the Borders Act does no such thing.
“It helps us fight the evil gangs that are taking advantage of people’s willingness to cross the English Channel in unseaworthy boats.
“And I would have thought a reasonable Labor Party would support that.”
However, the Guardian reported that a proposed rule change tacitly added to the bill could allow individuals to be stripped of their UK citizenship without warning.
Clause 9 – “Citizenship Removal Notice” – exempts the government from the obligation to give notice if this is not “reasonably practicable” or in the interests of national security, diplomatic relations or otherwise in the public interest.
The power to strip citizenship already exists and has been used against Shamima Begum, but critics say the law would allow it in some cases without notice – making the Home Secretary’s powers even more draconian.
Frances Webber, Vice-Chair of the Institute of Race Relations, told the newspaper: “This amendment sends the message that, although certain citizens were born and raised in the UK and have no other homeland, they remain immigrants in that country. Your citizenship and with it all your rights are precarious and conditional. “
The Home Office said British citizenship was “a privilege, not a right”.
They added, “The Nationality and Boundaries Act will change the law so that citizenship can be withdrawn if dismissal is impractical, such as when there is no way to communicate with the person.”