My response to emails on Shemima Begum

Thank you for contacting me about Shamima Begum.

I do agree with you emotionally that if a British citizen leaves this country to join a terrorist organisation that seeks to cause harm to our citizens and sow hate in our country he or she cannot expect to be welcomed back with open arms when that organisation collapses.

In this particular case too there is the anecdotal evidence of her tv interview (that suggests very little remorse for the devastation to human life that ISIS has caused), and there is too the possibility that months in a camp in northern Syria will have hardened rather than softened her views. Against that she was very young when she left and may have been groomed and malignly influenced.

As you know, in order to protect this country, the Home Secretary has the power to deprive someone of their British citizenship where it would not render them stateless. In the case of Shamima Begum there is a question about whether she is a dual nationality citizen (Bangladesh) and the court ruled that a trial without her presence would be prejudicial to justice. Our country believes strongly in access to justice and the independent rule of law, so what Judges decide is what will happen - when the judicial process has been exhausted.

Meanwhile the government has its reasons, based on intelligence not in the public domain, for the position taken by the Home Secretary last year and will appeal the court ruling.

This is a very difficult case and I know that Ministers are very disappointed with the decision of the Court. I know constituents will have different views on the balance of security and justice and I believe the next stage may depend on whether it can be shown that she holds dual nationality. It is right that Shamima has the ability to answer questions and lay out her case, whether remotely in safety or in person in the court.

It is difficult to say more given that an appeal has been sought and therefore the case live, and we shall both hear more in due course.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.