Britain’s 650-year-old treason law could be updated to allow jihadists returning from
Sajid Javid told the House of Commons yesterday that a change to the 1351 Treason Act was ‘worth considering carefully’.
Mr Javid has vowed to block
The last person convicted of treason in the UK was wartime Nazi propagandist Lord Haw-Haw who was hanged in 1946.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid, pictured in Downing Street last week, told the House of Commons yesterday that a change to the 1351 Treason Act was ‘worth considering carefully’
Who was Lord Haw-Haw, the last person convicted of treason in Britain?
Lord Haw-Haw, real name William Joyce, was a Nazi sympathiser who fled to Germany following the outbreak of the war in 1939.
He became famous forhis radio broadcasts from Berlin back to Britain and the U.S. with the catchphrase: ‘Germany calling’.
A member of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists before the war, Joyce used the broadcasts to denounce Jews and mock the war effort of Britain and its allies.
William Joyce, nicknamed Lord Haw-Haw, was convicted of treason in 1945
The broadcasts were carried out on behalf of senior Nazi Joseph Goebbels and his propaganda ministry.
Joyce would affect a upper-class English accent, giving rise to the Lord Haw-Haw moniker.
Joyce was captured and put on trial for treason at the Old Bailey, where he was found guilty in September 1945.
He was hanged on January 3, 1946, at Wandsworth Prison and buried in an unmarked grave.
Mr Javid was asked by Tory colleague Julian Lewis whether he would consider revamping the treason law to ‘specify that it is treason to support a group that one knows intends to attack the UK or is fighting UK forces’.
Oxford constitutional law professor Richard Ekins had argued in an article on Sunday that the 1351 law should be updated.
The Home Secretary replied: ‘This is a complex situation and we should always be looking to see what tools we have at our disposal to ensure that those who are guilty of terrorism, or of supporting terrorist groups, are brought to justice.
‘That means ensuring that we have the right laws in place.
‘There are already powers in existence, including those covering extra-territorial jurisdictions.
‘I have read that article and heard what Professor Ekins has said in the past, and I think that it is worth considering it carefully.’
Mr Javid told MPs that no British troops would be used to rescue any Britons who travelled to Syria to support terrorism.
He said more than 900 people went to Syria or Iraq, adding: ‘Whatever role they took in the so-called caliphate, they all supported a terrorist organisation and in doing so they have shown they hate our country and the values we stand for.’
He went on: ‘Now this so-called caliphate is crumbling, some of them want to return and I have been very clear where I can and where any threat remains I will not hesitate to prevent this.
‘The powers available to me include banning non-British people from this country and stripping dangerous dual nationals of their British citizenship.
Shamima Begum, pictured speaking to the BBC yesterday, has appealed to return to the UK but said she did not regret travelling to Syria to join ISIS in 2015
‘Over 100 people have already been deprived in this way.
‘But we must, of course, observe international law and we cannot do this if it would leave someone stateless – so where individuals do manage to return they will be questioned, investigated and potentially prosecuted.’
Shamima Begum, who fled Bethnal Green to travel to Syria in 2015, gave birth to a son on Saturday and has pleaded with Britain to allow her to return.
In an interview with the BBC yesterday she compared the Manchester Arena bombing to military assaults on Syria.
The deaths of 22 innocent people in the terrorist attack on an Ariana Grande concert in 2017 were akin to the ‘women and children’ being bombed in IS territory in Baghuz, she said.