'Shamima Begum needs to come back,' says Lib Dem leadership candidate Layla Moran

21 July 2020, 21:43

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Isis bride Shamima Begum "needs to come back" to the UK, Liberal Democrat leadership candidate Layla Moran has said.

Speaking with LBC's Iain Dale as part of her bid for party leadership, the MP for Oxford West and Abingdon said 20-year-old Ms Begum was a citizen of the UK who needed to be brought back "to face justice."

Ms Moran acknowledged that the former Isis bride - who was 15 when she left Britain for Syria - would need to be closely monitored upon returning to the country.

However, the Lib Dem MP said people "need to remember" that she was a child when she was radicalised.

When asked by a caller what the party's stance would be, under her leadership, on bringing Ms Begum back to the UK, she said: "Shamima Begum needs to come back.

"She is a citizen of this country and she is potentially a ticking time bomb, but we need to have eyes on her. She needs to face justice but also we will miss an opportunity by not bringing her back.

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Layla Moran was speaking with LBC's Iain Dale
Layla Moran was speaking with LBC's Iain Dale. Picture: LBC

"We have to remember that Shamima Begum was a teenager, a child when she was radicalised and then went over and started engaging in this very, very dangerous activity.

"What I want to know is not just how this happens to Shamima, but how do we stop that from happening to those young people who are radicalised in our country.

"So bring her back, let her face justice, make sure she's on an incredibly tight surveillance regime so that we can make sure nothing more would happen."

Iain then quizzed the Lib Dem MP on why a surveillance regime would be necessary when she should be in prison, and whether she thought Ms Begum should be immediately arrested and charged upon her return.

Ms Moran replied: "Yes, absolutely."

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The Lib Dem leadership candidate was also asked whether she was proud of the party's time in the Coalition with the Conservatives.

She said she does not "want to live in the past anymore" and wants to move forwards, instead of seeing the party repeatedly lose seats in general elections.

Ms Moran also told the LBC presenter she would not go into another coalition with the Tories "as the party currently stands" because they are "messing up" in their response to coronavirus and because they have "gone right-wing."

She said: "It's not just about Brexit, it's also about the approach that they're taking to the country, the way they're messing up this coronavirus crisis, the way that they don't want to be transparent with people."

The MP also said she "welcomed" society's attempts to accommodate for trans women and said the debate around the topic had been "worryingly mischaracterised."

Iain Dale spoke with fellow Lib Dem leadership contender Sir Ed Davey last Thursday and will host a debate between the pair on Sunday 2 August.