Today's Home Office stories include the Home Secretary designating Hizballah a terrorist organisation, Shamima Begum and EU citizens’ rights in UK.
Hizballah ban extension
There is widespread coverage of the Home Secretary’s decision to ban all wings of Hizballah after designating it as a terrorist organisation.
The FT reports that the Lebanese Shia movement’s external security unit and its military wing had already been proscribed but not its political arm.
Yesterday, the Home Secretary said that distinction was no longer justified and thus took the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety as it posed a risk to Middle East stability.
The Mail calls Hizballah a ‘terror group’ and notes that Jeremy Corbyn has called them his ‘friends’. Their article goes on to add those found to be members of the group could face a prison sentence of up to ten years from Friday if the ban receives Commons’ approval.
The Sun reports that Hizballah, which controls three Lebanese Government ministries, is one of a number of groups proscribed yesterday by the Home Secretary, whose statement is carried in the majority of papers.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
My priority as Home Secretary is to protect the British people. As part of this, we identify and ban any terrorist organisation which threatens our safety and security, whatever their motivations or ideology which is why I am taking action against several organisations today.
Hizballah is continuing in its attempts to destabilase the fragile situation in the Middle East – and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party. Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety.
The Mirror reports that the Home Secretary has told MPs that Shamima Begum’s newborn son will not get help as a UK citizen while she is in Syria.
The paper reports Mr Javid as saying that Ms Begum would have to get to a British consul for it to be “potentially possible” to support her child. It also reports the Home Secretary as insisting that the decision to revoke her citizenship would not leave her stateless.
The Star reports on comments made by Ms Begum in which she claims she has been discriminated against on account of her notoriety.
The Express adds that the Home Secretary is considering reforms to ancient treason laws to aid in the battle against extremism. Mr Javid says police lack they power the need to crush radicalisation and abusive behaviour online, it adds. He is quoted as taking calls for treason reforms “very seriously”.
The Times reports that 13 French citizens accused of being ISIS fighters have been handed from Syria to Iraqi authorities for trial. The report adds that the move may pave the way for similar deals in the case of British fighters.
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.
EU citizens’ rights in UK
The Prime Minister is facing a major rebellion after dozens of Conservative MPs backed an amendment demanding she guarantee the rights of European Union nationals in the UK after Brexit, the Telegraph and Times report.
More than 130 MPs - including 60 Tory MPs - are backing an amendment by MP Alberto Costa.
The amendment is signed by Jacob Rees-Mogg, Sir Edward Leigh, Steve Baker and Sir Graham Brady from the Eurosceptic wing of the party, and Sir Oliver Letwin, Dominic Grieve and Jonathan Djanogly from the pro-EU side of the party.
Mr Costa will table the motion to protect the rights of three million EU citizens in the UK, the Times adds.
A Government spokesperson said:
From the very beginning the Prime Minister has been very clear that safeguarding the rights of citizens in the UK, who are our friends and family, was her first priority.
The Government has been unequivocal in stating that in any scenario, including ‘no deal’, EU citizens who resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be able to stay.
However, it is also important the same rights for UK citizens are protected in the EU, and we have consistently called on the EU to adopt a similar approach.