UK Government Plays Down Divisions Over New Terror Rules

UK Government Plays Down Divisions Over New Terror Rules

The British government has been trying to play down a rift between the two coalition parties over new counter-terrorism measures that are due to be announced this afternoon.

Ten Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister, said that David Cameron will announce an agreed government position in his statement later, which will focus on “targeted” action to stop Islamists from attacking the UK, according to the BBC.

The Prime Minister and his deputy, Nick Clegg, have been holding talks this weekend over how to respond to the heightened threat, after the UK’s official ‘terror threat’ level was raised to ‘severe’ on Friday, meaning an attack is highly likely.

Conservatives would like new powers to seize the passports of UK citizens who travel to fight for ISIS, and possibly even permanently deprive them of their citizenship, although the Liberal Democrats are more cautious, with some senior figures questioning the legality of such a move.

As Breitbart London reported earlier, former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said that stripping jihadis of their citizenship could “constitute illegality.” Meanwhile, Lord Ashdown, another former leader, raised concerns about the threat such measure could pose to civil liberties. He said it is “the job of politicians to act but as jealous protectors of our liberties.”

It is understood that the government is planning to announce powers to temporarily suspend the passports of jihadis suspected to be fighting with ISIS, but will stop short of depriving them on their citizenship.

International law prohibits a state removing citizenship from someone when they do not hold citizenship of another country – something that would effectively make them stateless.

Former Conservative solicitor general Sir Edward Garnier told the BBC that any plans to even temporarily remove citizenship from someone could lead to legal challenges.

“If we make announcements that we cannot follow up on in a practical sense then we make promises we can’t keep,” he said.

“What we have to do is balance what is the right thing to do – and there is an expectation the government should be doing more – against what is legally proper to do.”


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