Overwhelming majority of voters want British fighters in Syria and Iraq to be rendered stateless, as David Cameron announces new terrorism powers
A significant majority of voters want British members of Isil to be stripped of their citizenship, a poll shows.
Some 67 per cent think the law should be changed to remove citizenship from Britons who have no other nationality if they are fighting for Isil, YouGov found. Just 17 per cent said the law should not be changed.
Today David Cameron will announce a series of emergency measures to tackle extremism amid growing concerns about the threat posed by British jihadis returning from Iraq and Syria. Around 500 are believed to have gone to fight, with half returning. As a result, the threat level was raised on Friday to “severe” meaning a terrorist attack is now “highly likely”.
The measures are likely to include temporary banning orders to prevent jihadists from returning home, and plans to oblige airlines to provide advance information about passengers. At present, some airlines refuse to do so amid concerns about the privacy of passengers.
The Home Secretary has the power to strip citizenship from dual nationals holding British passports, and from naturalised British citizens.
Some 76 per cent of those surveyed support the use of this power, against nine per cent who are opposed.
However, she has ruled out removing citizenship from regular British citzens, as it is against international law to render a person stateless.
The Government is considering the confiscation of passports of those attempting to leave Britain to fight in Iraq – a move supported by 63 per cent of those surveyed.
Mr Cameron is expected to reject calls to reintroduce Control Orders, which granted judges the power to relocate terrorism suspects to new towns and prevent them communicating with other extremists by phone or internet.
The powers would fall foul of human rights laws, the Government believes.
However, 70 per cent of voters think Control Orders should be reintroduced, while 9 per cent are opposed.
Edward Garnier QC, the former solicitor general who has rarely criticised the Government, this morning said that new terrorism laws may not be necessary.
It would be difficult to “prevent lawfully a British citizen returning to their own country”, he said.
“Parliament can pass any law it likes, but the Government is bound by at least two UN conventions on statelessness and it seems to me that the Government already has many laws in its locker which it can use.”
“I think we need to be very careful. We need to do an audit of the laws that we have and the laws that we don’t have, and make sure that we don’t simply, during the course of the next weeks or months, pass new laws which simply replicate existing laws.”
Overall, 79 per cent of voters agree with the Government’s argument that Britons’ involvement in Isil has “probably increased the risk” of major terrorist attacks on the UK.
Opinion is split- 41 per cent to 40 – over suggestions from Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London that those who have travelled to Syria or Iraq should be presumed terrorists unless they can prove they were going for innocent reasons.