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Home Office in the media

Home Office in the media blog: Wednesday 20 February

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Today's Home Office stories include the Home Secretary’s decision to strip Shamima Begum of her British citizenship, new drone legislation, and Special Grant funding for Grenfell Tower.

Home Office in the media

Begum stripped of British citizenship

There is widespread prominent coverage of the Home Secretary’s decision to strip Shamima Begum of her British citizenship.

The teenager has been revoked of her citizenship after a public backlash to her comments in a series of interviews in which she appeared “remorseless” to the actions of Daesh, the Sun reports.

ITV News reported last night that her mother received a letter from Sajid Javid stating that her daughter, who has asked to return to the UK with her newborn baby, would be stripped of her citizenship and urging the family to inform her.

The papers report that the Home Secretary has been vocal in his opposition to Begum's return, but legal experts have argued that because individuals cannot be left stateless he does not have the power to stop her unless she is a dual national.

Her family's solicitor Tasnime Akunjee says that although her parents are Bangladeshi, she does not have citizenship there and holds no identify documents for any country other than the UK. The papers report her family would be “considering all legal avenues to challenge this decision”.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

In recent days the Home Secretary has clearly stated that his priority is the safety and security of Britain and the people who live here.

In order to protect this country, he has the power to deprive someone of their British
citizenship where it would not render them stateless.

We do not comment on individual cases, but any decisions to deprive individuals of their citizenship are based on all available evidence and not taken lightly.

Three-mile no-fly zones for drones

The Telegraph, Times, FT and Mail report on the announcement today that drones are banned from being flown within 5km of airports.

The Telegraph reports that the legislation will come into place next month, extending the current ban of 0.6 miles to 3 miles. The paper says that this announcement comes amid growing concern about drone misuse, following the incidents at Gatwick and Heathrow airports.

The Times reports that police are to use new stop and search powers and on the spot fines in the fight against rouge drone operators. The paper says the new legislation will give officers to ability to search anyone suspected of flouting restrictions on the use of small, unmanned devices, and will allow officers to impose £100 on the sport fines for lesser offences. The paper also says the bill will give police powers to access data stored on a drone.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Extending stop and search to include drones will help police tackle disruption like the recent misery we saw at UK airports, when travel was ruined for thousands of innocent passengers, and bring those responsible to justice.

Police are clear that stop and search is one of the most powerful tools they have to target and disrupt crime and I remain committed to giving them all the support they need to protect the public.

Police denied full funds sought for Grenfell probe

The Independent reports that the Government refused to fully meet a special request for funding towards the Grenfell Tower police investigation, despite approving all other made last year.

The paper says that while the request for additional funding for the probe into the 2017 disaster was considerably higher than other lodged by the Metropolitan police, politicians have accused the Home Office of “denying justice”.

The paper reports that in 2017-18, £10.1 million out of the £11 million requested was awarded for the Grenfell investigation, and in 2018-19, £11.4 million out of £13.5 million was given.

A Home Office spokesperson said:

To date, we have awarded the Metropolitan Police a total of £22 million towards their Grenfell Tower response and investigation costs.

This includes reimbursing the force in full for the cost of its response and covers the vast majority of its investigation costs.

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