Posted on December 13, 2021

Anger Boils as UK Parliament Endorses ‘Obscene’ Nationality Bill

Edna Mohamed, Al Jazeera, December 10, 2021

The UK’s controversial Nationality and Borders bill passed through the House of Commons this week, prompting outrage from citizens, politicians and activists who fear its potentially dangerous effect on ethnic minorities.

Clause 9 of the bill is of particular concern as it will allow the government to deprive a person of citizenship without having to notify them. This can be done if officials either do not have the subject’s contact details or if doing so is not “reasonably practical”.

While depriving someone of their nationality has been allowed under UK law for several years, doing so without giving them notice has not.

The UK deprives citizenship from high-profile criminals and previous examples include Shamima Begum, the Londoner born to Bangladeshi parents who was affiliated with ISIL (ISIS) in Syria, a dual British-Sudanese national known as K2 who was allegedly involved in terrorism-related activities linked to al-Shabab, and British-Pakistani members of a grooming gang targeting girls in northern England.

The practice used to be rare. Until 2017, the number of people who were stripped of their citizenship was fewer than 20 a year. In recent years, it has been as high as more than 100.

Critics say ethnic minorities are at risk of becoming second-class citizens, because many hold two nationalities or could potentially get another passport.

The bill will now progress to the House of Lords, where it is likely to be approved and become legally binding.


A petition against Clause 9 has gathered more than 100,000 signatures. Parliament will consider a debate for all petitions that reach that level, according to government guidelines.

Conservative ministers reportedly cheered the bill’s passing in Parliament on Wednesday night, with Home Secretary Priti Patel – the bill’s main backer – saying she was “delighted”.

Amie, a campaigner at No Borders Manchester, said while the bill’s success in Parliament passing was “disheartening”, it was not unexpected.


Another clause in the bill would criminalise anyone taking part in refugee rescue missions in the English Channel.