James O'Brien's monologue on the case of IS bride Shamima Begum

26 February 2021, 14:59

By Sam Sholli

In a powerful monologue, James O'Brien spoke about the case of IS bride Shamima Begum and argued to Home Secretary have the power to revoke people's British citizenship.

James made his case in response to the Supreme Court ruling that Shamima Begum is not allowed to return to the UK to pursue an appeal against the removal of her British citizenship.

Shamima Begum, now 21, was one of three East London schoolgirls who travelled to Syria to join ISIS in February 2015 when she was 15 years old.

Her British citizenship was revoked on national security grounds by then Home Secretary Sajid Javid shortly after she was found, nine months pregnant, in a Syrian refugee camp in February 2019.

Speaking of her case, James said: "I don't think that the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid it was at the time, should be able to strip anybody of their citizenship.

"I would say anybody. it doesn't seem to me to be a measure that a politician should have. And the way I explain that is not by saying 'Shamima Begum's citizenship' but by saying 'your citizenship'.

"I don't think Priti Patel should be able to tell you that you're not British anymore, legally. I just think that's wrong."

In the Supreme Court's written ruling, Lord Reed said: "It is, of course, true that a deprivation decision may have serious consequences for the person in question: although she cannot be rendered stateless, the loss of her British citizenship may nevertheless have a profound effect upon her life, especially where her alternative nationality is one with which she has little real connection.

"But the setting aside of the decision may also have serious consequences for the public interest.

"In such a case, it would be irresponsible for the court to allow the appeal without any regard to the interests of national security which prompted the decision in question, and it is difficult to conceive that the law would require it to do so."