November 6, 2015
Hellyer: The Citizenship Debate in the United Kingdom is a Slippery Slope
In a recent public engagement with the British foreign secretary Philip Hammond, I asked him to clarify parts of the new UK counter-extremism strategy – and particularly on the point of citizenship. The idea of revoking citizenship is something that we ought to be very careful about because it hits at the core of the notion of the nation state. But this is precisely what is being suggested in the new counter-extremism strategy.
Citizens are citizens – if they are naturalised citizens, and have not become citizens under false pretences, they are citizens as much as citizens from birth. The state might punish them, fine them, imprison them, or otherwise penalise them, but the state ought not to have the ability to remove their ability to claim they are, in fact, British. Even under the existing offence of high treason in English law, the maximum punishment is life imprisonment, the last person having been executed for that crime being in 1946.