British jihadists who travel to fight for Islamic State and other terror groups will be banned from returning to the UK for at least two years, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.
The Prime Minister announced the new policy as part of a range of terror measures to prevent an attack on British soil. There will also be new powers to strip teenage fanatics of their passports and barring airlines from landing in Britain if they do not provide passenger information.
Cameron announced the policies in an address to the Australian Parliament, which he was visiting ahead of the G20 summit in Brisbane. As part of his address, he said that British citizens who fight for jihadists in Iraq and Syria will be subject to new “temporary exclusion orders” which will bar them from returning to the country unless they meet strict conditions.
The Telegraph reports that the orders will be signed off by the Home Secretary on the basis of “reasonable suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity”, with suspects being put on a no-fly list and having their passports cancelled.
If a suspect makes repeated attempts to re-enter Britain, they will face prosecution, be subject to restrictions and their movements and be forced to attend de-radicalisation programmes.
After the orders expire at the end of their two-year period, they will can be renewed for another couple of years if necessary.
The Prime Minister announced similar measures earlier this year, however then-Attorney General Dominic Grieve said that removing passports from jihadists while they were abroad could be illegal under UN law as it would render them “stateless”.
The new proposals, drawn up under the current Attorney General, attempt to side-step this by offering jihadists the option of returning, although under very strict conditions.
The British government estimates that at least 500 Britons have travelled to join jihad in Iraq and Syria, and that around half of them are thought to have returned, or are attempting to, raising fears that they could spread terror to the UK.
The Prime Minister said: “We have to deal with the threat of foreign fighters planning attacks against our people.
“But as well as dealing with the consequences of this threat, we also have to address its root cause. And let’s be frank.
“It’s not poverty, though of course our nations are united in tackling deprivation wherever it exists.
“It’s not exclusion from the mainstream. Of course we have more to do but we are both successful multicultural democracies where opportunities abound.
“No, the root cause of the challenge we face is the extremist narrative. So we must confront this extremism in all its forms. We must ban extremist preachers from our countries. We must root out extremism from our schools, universities and prisons.”