UK Immigration Minister: Terror Suspects 'Can Stay' in UK but Become 'Stateless'

Britain’s newly appointed Immigration Minister has said that terror suspects who have been stripped of their statehood may still be able to remain in Britain.

James Brokenshire MP, who replaced Mark Harper following the latter’s resignation this past weekend, said in a Westminster Hall debate that suspects who have been stripped of their UK citizenship, and who have no other nationality, could remain in the United Kingdom, albeit with restricted access to welfare or other state benefits.

Brokenshire said, “Where appropriate, we could regularize a person’s position in the UK by granting limited leave, possibly with conditions relating to access to public funds and their right to work and study.”

He also stated, “Some [suspects] may be able to acquire or reacquire another nationality. In those cases where the individual has been deprived [of citizenship] while in the UK, we would seek to remove that individual from the UK once they have acquired another nationality.”

While the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Stateless Persons discourages statelessness, the United Kingdom as a signatory noted numerous reservations upon accession to the treaty.

The UK’s notes upon accession allow flexibility for wartime situations, or those which Her Majesty’s government decides are “grave or exceptional circumstances.” 

Notes made in 1959 state that the treaty is understood as “not preventing [the government] from taking in time of war or other grave and exceptional circumstances measures in the interests of national security in the case of a stateless person on the ground of his former nationality.”

However, last year, Britain’s Supreme Court rejected efforts by the Home Secretary and her government colleagues to remove the statehood of an Iraqi terror suspect. The Guardian reported, “Five judges at the UK’s highest court unanimously dismissed the appeal by Theresa May, the home secretary, on the grounds that United Nations guidelines prevent any individual being rendered stateless.”