UK lords deal blow to proposed terror law

LONDON - British ministers have lost a vote in the country's House of Lords to have terror suspects stripped of their nationality, even if it makes them stateless.

The Monday defeat came as 242-to-180 peers voted for proposed changes to the government's Immigration Bill; the peers' amendment has called for parliamentary scrutiny before a Home Secretary could be empowered to revoke British citizenship.

Currently, citizenship can be removed if the individual is a dual national and would not become stateless.

Crossbench peer Lord Pannick said: "There are regrettably all too many dictators around the world willing to use the creation of statelessness as a weapon against opponents."

"We should do nothing to suggest that such conduct is acceptable," he added.

The UK coalition government has stripped several citizens of their nationality; in one case an Iraqi-born man was left stateless after Conservative Home Secretary Theresa May stripped him of his British citizenship. The UK Supreme Court later ruled the actions as unlawful.

In a statement a Home Office spokesman said: "The first duty of government is the security of its citizens and this amendment removes an important, necessary and proportionate measure to address the very small number of harmful individuals who abuse the privileges of British citizenship. We will reflect on the vote and consider our next steps."

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