It is absolutely right that those who travel abroad to commit terrible crimes face the full force of the law. However, people who have UK citizenship have a right to return here to face UK justice and their children have a right to protection as UK citizens.
Yesterday, I challenged the Home Secretary to consider the possible citizenship rights of Shemima Begum’s baby. Shemima is a UK citizen, does not have dual citizenship and therefore the UK government has no legal right to stop her from returning and they may not remove her citizenship and make her stateless. The UK is of course entitled to investigate her actions and if appropriate make charges against her. But that is irrelevant to her baby, born in a refugee camp and almost certainly also a UK citizen.
The Home Secretary responded by placing all the responsibility for the situation this baby is in entirely on the parents. We provide child protection for UK children if their parents are unable to keep their children safe. But in any case we do not know what has happened with Ms Begum or what help she may be entitled to. And whatever she may have done – still unknown – her baby is entirely innocent. I want our government to protect all children and I am deeply unsatisfied by the answers the Home Secretary gave to me and to other colleagues. I will continue to push this government to protect children.