Shamima Begum left London to join the Islamic state, with two other schoolgirls, in 2015. She has been a controversial topic in the court of public opinion as of late with deeply polarised attitudes prevailing on both sides of the political spectrum. One can see why the very mention of her name sparks strong opinion, after having said in her interview when questioned about ISIS executions "I knew about those things but I was okay with it", but should it be a controversial topic in the courts of the United Kingdom? Disputing the revocation of her citizenship in 2019 the courts have agreed to allow her into the country to appeal her case, much to the displeasure of the government who argue, quite rightly, that she is a threat to national security. The Begum case is a test of this country's commitment to the rule of law, and an opportunity to maintain our place in history as a beacon of liberal democracy in the west.
The argument could be made that anyone leaving the country to join an active terror organisation forfeits their citizenship and the benefits that this may bring, very much the view that Begum has made her bed and should now lie in it. This however would be shirking our responsibility as a nation. As a leading western nation, we have a responsibility not only to ourselves, but to the rest of the world, to lead the charge against terrorist forces at home and abroad, especially so when we have allowed this malignant force to take hold within the borders of our own country. The way we must do this is through a strict application of the law in a fair trial, Begum should indeed be allowed to appeal against the revocation of her citizenship and indeed it is my opinion that she should win. Exiling someone into a stateless limbo only washes our hands of the problem and ensures that she isn't brought to justice, and make no mistake, she has blood on her hands. As with any other member of a terror organisation she should be met with the full force of the law, under section 8 of the 2006 terrorism act and Section 11 of the 2000 terrorism act at the least, and only through application of fair, liberal legal proceedings can we truly maintain our status as a leading democracy and confirm our commitment to the rule of law.
We must take this opportunity to reassert our commitment to liberal values in this new post-Brexit Britain, rather than being constrained by the judgements and watchful eye of the ECJ. The ECJ and in particular the European Charter of Human Rights have long been used as a tool used by the European Union to erode sovereign power and begin the transition to a united states of Europe. Already having a uniform currency amongst the continent, which the UK avoided thanks to John Major and the Maastricht treaty, a uniform legal system is the next logical step for Brussels to enforce its edicts on the continent. Although the Prime Minister has made explicitly clear that the ECJ will have no jurisdiction following the end of the transition period, the Human rights act, which gives actionable force to the ECHR, still embodies European law in this country. It's imperative in the future that we move forward with the government's 2015 manifesto pledge of creating an entrenched bill of rights for the United Kingdom and that we repeal the Human Rights Act.
This bill would continue to protect citizens rights indefinitely without fear of repeal from future governments, but it would also allow us to adapt the law to ensure that our courts can maintain the rights of its citizens without conceding on national security or being undermined by unelected bureaucrats. We can now take matters into our own hands and must use this rediscovered power to shape and apply the law in a way that keeps with our nation's values and maintains our national security in this new age of unseen threats. Whilst enemies of China and Russia simply disappear with little to no explanation we must make sure that our law is consistent and transparent with the same rules applied to all under its remit, be them petty crooks or international terrorists. No matter who it is, the full force of the law will be applied and this is how we maintain our commitment to the rule of the law but also a steel determination in the face of growing international threat. Simply washing our hands and ignoring our problems will not do, Britain must act.