University of Cambridge > > Critical Theory and Practice Seminar > Citizenship Stripping: From Blair to May, The Story of How the British State Weaponised Citizenship

Citizenship Stripping: From Blair to May, The Story of How the British State Weaponised Citizenship

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Ismail Einashe (Columbia School of Journalism); Alice Ross (Guardian); Daniel Trilling (New Humanist); Dr Ashwini Vasanthakumar (Law, King’s London)

Citizenship-stripping has become a key weapon in the counter-terrorism toolbox. The British government has the power to revoke the citizenship of dual UK nationals or naturalised Britons with little oversight and virtually no public scrutiny. To do so the Home Secretary needs neither the approval of a court nor that an individual be convicted of a crime. The practice has grown since 9/11, when legislation was passed to make the process easier. Under Labour, five people had their citizenship removed. But while Theresa May was at the Home Office, 70 people were stripped. Yet these near-arbitrary powers have caused remarkably little concern. This seminar examines how citizenship-stripping became a fixture of the British state. From Blair to May we hear the story of how the British state weaponised citizenship.

Ismail Einashe is a freelance journalist who contributes to Prospect Magazine, The Nation, NPR , The Guardian, New Humanist, The Atlantic, Index on Censorship and others. He has worked for BBC Radio Current Affairs and has presented on BBC Radio. He is a 2017 Dart Center Ochberg Fellow at Columbia University Journalism School and an associate at the Cambridge Migration Research Network (CAMMIGRES).

Alice Ross has a masters in investigative journalism from City University and has worked at The Guardian and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. She holds awards including the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism and the Richard Wild Prize. Working with a colleague, Chris Woods, she first revealed the British government’s use of citizenship-stripping as a counter-terrorism tool in The Independent and reported on it for over a year.

Daniel Trilling is editor of New Humanist magazine and has reported extensively on refugees at Europe’s borders. His work has been published by The Guardian, Al Jazeera, the London Review of Books, Newsweek, New Statesman and others, and was shortlisted for a 2014 Amnesty media award. His first book, Bloody Nasty People: the Rise of Britain’s Far Right (Verso) was longlisted for the 2013 Orwell Prize. He studied modern European languages at University College London.

Dr Ashwini Vasanthakumar is Lecturer in Politics, Philosophy & Law at the Dickson Poon School of Law at King’s College London), which she joined in September 2016. She is also a researcher at the Institute for Futures Studies (Stockholm) on the project ‘The Boundary Problem in Democratic Theory’, and an affiliate of the Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security (Osgoode Hall Law School). Previously she was a Lecturer in Political Theory at the University of York, a Term Fellow in Political Theory at University College, Oxford, and a Yale Ruebhausen Fellow and Assistant Professor at the Jindal Global Law School.

This talk is part of the Critical Theory and Practice Seminar series.

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