Cabinet clash over new TREASON law targeting British jihadis

Cabinet clash over new TREASON law that would jail British jihadis and enemy agents for life if they help foreign foes attack the UK as Dominic Raab insists law chiefs must approve plan before it comes into force – which could take YEARS

  • Suella Braverman wanted to swiftly bring new treason offence into law
  • Currently treason only covers criminal acts committed in the UK
  • New law would target offences committed overseas to help foreign powers
  • But Raab asked for legal chiefs to review law amid concerns about effectiveness

A new treason law that would allow British jihadis to be jailed for life for helping foreign forces attack the UK has been delayed, potentially by years, after a major cabinet row.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman and security Minister Tom Tugendhat wanted to swiftly introduce a new offence aimed at UK nationals who help others carry out attacks against the UK or its armed forces, to close a loophole.

It would make it easier to prosecute extremists like Islamist extremists Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, who were part of the ‘Isis Beatles’ group of executioners, and jihadi bride Shamima Begum.

However Justice Secretary Dominic Raab intervened at the 11th hour to prevent it being introduced as an amendment of the National Security Bill currently going through Parliament. 

He raised questions over whether it was ‘good law’, with the Ministry of Justice having concerns about whether it would actually solve any ‘real world’ offences due to the way it was written. 

Instead the Law Commission, the independent watchdog, has been asked to review the UK’s treason laws, meaning any new legislation is unlikely before the next election, the Times reported.  

Home Secretary Suella Braverman and security Minister Tom Tugendhat wanted to swiftly introduce a new offence aimed at UK nationals who help others carry out attacks here, or against UK forces overseas, to close a loophole.

 

It would make it easier to prosecute extremists like Islamist extremists Alexanda Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh (top), who were part of the ‘Isis Beatles’ group of executioners, and jihadi bride Shamima Begum (above).

However Justice Secretary Dominic Raab intervened at the 11th hour to prevent it being introduced as an amendment of the National Security Bill currently going through Parliament.

Plans to update the UK’s centuries-old treason laws were first announced in 2019 by Boris Johnson. 

Because they have not committed any crime in the UK, people who go to fight for or otherwise aid groups like Islamic State, cannot be prosecuted currently for treason. 

Ms Braverman’s law would have created a new offence of aiding a state or organisation that is attacking or preparing to attack the UK or UK forces in an armed conflict.

It would apply to British nationals anywhere in the world, and all nationalities within the UK, and would carry a life sentence.

A Government source told the Times: ‘It’s a complete mess of a law and it needs tidying up, but the ship has sailed now.

‘The Home Office had an amendment ready for the Commons report stage of the national security bill that would’ve helped strengthen our laws against those who would betray our country, but the Lord Chancellor [Raab] blocked it when he returned to government.’

However, a source at the MoJ said that centuries of treason legislation would be ‘complex law to unravel’ and ‘rushing something through isn’t the right thing to do.’ 

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