A senior government legal adviser has rubbished the Prime Minister’s plans to prevent terror suspects who travelled to the Islamic State from returning, saying they were not fully formed, and will never materialise as promised.
David Anderson QC, who was selected by the Home Office to scrutinise all counter terror law, used his privilege to savage the attempt made to ban terrorists from re-entering the country after fighting abroad, calling the proposed measures “an announcement waiting for a policy”. Mr Anderson told parliamentarians: “What we now have is a power that although entitled exclusion orders, or temporary exclusion orders, I think in reality it is much closer to managed return or controlled return”.
The PM had promised in September to prevent British passport holders who went abroad from being able to return to the UK, following a similar pledge made by Australian PM Tony Abbott. This now appears to be far from reality, as it seems in almost all cases returning terrorists will be merely required to attend ‘de-radicalisation courses’ and keep in touch with the police, reports the Daily Mail.
Remarkably, despite recent comments by a British member of parliament that there have been as many as 2,000 British citizens who went to fight for the Islamic State, the Government believes it will only confiscate something in the region of 50 passports from returning fighters a year.
The revelation will be embarrassing for David Cameron, who had sought to assure Britain they would be protected from battle-hardened, radicalised jihadists returning to the UK. Although the plans were questioned by lawyers from their outset, the government decided to push on with them.
One public figure who suggested a solution to the problem that wouldn’t require new legislation was UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who called on the government in August to use the near-forgotten Foreign Enlistment Act of 1870. Mr Farage said: “in choosing to quit the UK to fight abroad, [UK National Islamic State Fighters] have rendered themselves effectively stateless by conforming to an ideology of wanting to create a terrifying caliphate.
“If they choose to leave the UK they simply should not be allowed to return. Where intelligence identifies UK nationals fighting for IS their repatriation absolutely should be blocked”.