Boris Johnson to review ‘odd and perverse’ legal aid rules after Shamima Begum judgement
BORIS Johnson has vowed to review the “odd and perverse” legal aid rules after the Shamima Begum judgement.
The Prime Minister has revealed ministers are looking at who qualifies for legal aid after a court ruled Begum could return to the UK.
Speaking to The Sunday Telegraph, the PM questioned why someone who had been stripped of their citizenship had access to the fund.
He said: “It seems to me to be at least odd and perverse that somebody can be entitled to legal aid when they are not only outside the country, but have had their citizenship deprived for the protection of national security.
“That, amongst other things, we will be looking at.”
The aid helps those unable to afford legal representation in the UK court system.
Begum, who fled to Syria, was stripped of her British citizenship on national security grounds.
But the Appeal Court ruled this week she can return to fight the decision.
Boris warned that the Government would now be looking at the whole system of judicial review.
He said: “What we are looking at is whether there are some ways in which judicial review does indeed go too far or does indeed have perverse consequences that were not perhaps envisaged when the tradition of judicial review began.”
Begum left Britain aged 15 with two girl friends in 2015 to join IS, married a Dutch terrorist and had three children who all died.
As of September 2019, Begum has been living in the Al Hawl camp in Syria.
Then home secretary Sajid Javid had revoked her British citizenship, making her “a citizen of Bangladesh by descent”, against which she has appealed.
In September 2019 her plea to be re-granted British citizenship was further rejected by Priti Patel, the current Home Secretary who said there’s “no way” she’ll be allowed back.
Yesterday Sir Keir Starmer was slammed over his support for the jihadi bride.
Before leading Labour he said she was entitled to return to Britain.
Sir Keir, an ex-human rights lawyer, has said blocking her return 15 months ago was “the wrong decision”.
In the interview Mr Johnson also claimed the authorities were getting much better at spotting local outbreaks, although it was important the ability to order national action was held in reserve.
He said: “I can’t abandon that tool any more than I would abandon a nuclear deterrent. But it is like a nuclear deterrent, I certainly don’t want to use it. And nor do I think we will be in that position again.
“It’s not just that we’re getting much better at spotting the disease and isolating it locally, but we understand far more which groups it affects, how it works, how it’s transmitted, so the possibility of different types of segmentation, of enhanced shielding for particular groups, is now there.”
The PM added: “We’re genuinely able now to look at what’s happening in much closer to real time, to isolate outbreaks and to address them on the spot, and to work with local authorities to contain the problem locally and regionally if we have to”.
His comments come after the Office for Budget Responsibility warned last week that unemployment could jump to 12 per cent at the end of this year, leaving four million people without jobs, as a result of the coronavirus shutdown.
Most read in Politics