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Volume 468: debated on Monday 26 November 2007

11. If she will make it her policy to include in citizenship ceremonies a statement including a list of acts of treason and high crimes against the state. (167491)

Citizenship ceremonies for new British citizens are intended to be celebratory events where new citizens are welcomed into their local communities and to Britain. Those applying for citizenship are informed at the point of application and in their declaration that it can be withdrawn if they engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the public good.

I am grateful to the Minister for that response. Does she agree that in those ceremonies there should be an underlining of the responsibilities to this nation of those who become British citizens as well as of their rights under this nation? If she does agree, would she consider amending legislation so that those naturalised British citizens who commit high crimes against this country and the state, or, indeed, treason, should have their citizenship revoked on conviction?

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary already has powers to do just that. The Government can withdraw citizenship from the people in the category outlined by the hon. Gentleman for a range of issues. I am happy to write to him about that, but those issues include war crimes, other serious offences, public order offences and conduct prejudicial to vital national interests, including treason. We are also conducting several bits of work across Government, including the citizenship review. I would be happy to share with the hon. Gentleman the information that citizens receive. His comments on that information would be much welcomed.

I welcome the citizenship ceremonies, which are moving events, and I wish that they had existed when I became a British citizen. Has my hon. Friend considered writing to local authorities to suggest that they invite their Members of Parliament to some of the ceremonies? Hon. Members should be aware of their significance.

I recently met local authority officers who are responsible for organising citizenship ceremonies. Several local authorities conduct interesting ceremonies—for example, Brent has held some at Wembley stadium. Oxfordshire has an interesting programme involving schools, linking GCSE classes on citizenship. Several authorities invite their Members of Parliament. If my hon. Friend contacts her local authority, I am sure that it would be willing to extend an invitation to her.