A furious MP tore into Boris Johnson today in a row over deportations, asking him: “When is he coming for me?”
Labour MP Imran Hussain claimed the nationality and borders bill could see him and other ethnic minorities stripped of citizenship.
He was met with shouts of “disgrace” from Tory MPs and the PM hit back, saying his comment was “shameful”.
The MP for Bradford East fumed: “My grandfather along with thousands of others came to this country 70 years ago working seven days a week in squalid conditions to help rebuild this country.
“Yet now the home secretary’s nationality and borders bill means she can revoke our British citizenship and deport us for even the most minor wrongdoings.
“Given the government and the home office’s horrific track record with the treatment of minorities, the hostile environment and the Windrush scandals, let me ask the prime minister the burning question that is now on the lips of everyone from a Bame background right across the country.
“When is he coming for me?”
The prime minister fought back, telling him to look at the Tory frontbench today and asking him to “withdraw what he just said”.
Johnson added: “He should withdraw it, what he said is absolutely shameful and, as he knows full well, the borders bill does nothing of the kind.
“It helps us to fight the evil gangs who are predating on people’s willingness to cross the Channel in un-seaworthy boats.
“And I would have thought a sensible Labour Party would support it.”
However, the Guardian reported that individuals could be stripped of their British citizenship without warning under a proposed rule change quietly added to the bill.
Clause 9 – “Notice of decision to deprive a person of citizenship” – exempts the government from having to give notice if it is not “reasonably practicable” to do so, or in the interests of national security, diplomatic relations or otherwise in the public interest.
The power to strip citizenship already exists and has been used against Shamima Begum but critics say the bill would allow it to happen without notice in some cases - making the home secretary’s powers even more draconian.
Frances Webber, the vice-chair of the Institute of Race Relations, told the paper: “This amendment sends the message that certain citizens, despite being born and brought up in the UK and having no other home, remain migrants in this country. Their citizenship, and therefore all their rights, are precarious and contingent.”
A home office spokesperson said: “Removing someone’s British citizenship has been possible for over a century and is a last resort against the most dangerous people or those whose conduct involves very high harm. It is rare, cannot leave anyone stateless, and comes with a right to appeal.
“This change is simply about the process of notification for removal of citizenship. We will always try to tell them that their citizenship has been deprived, but it might not be possible in exceptional circumstances like if they’re in a war zone, we can’t get hold of them, or informing them would reveal sensitive intelligence sources.”