CommentIsLinked@LDV… Chris Huhne: While we need to clarify the rules for obtaining British citizenship, curtailing people’s freedom of expression is a big mistake

Over at The Guardian, Lib Dem shadow home secretary Chris Huhne argues that, while we need to clarify the rules for obtaining British citizenship, curtailing people’s freedom of expression is a big mistake. Here’s an excerpt:

There is the germ of a good idea in the government’s proposals for a points-based test for citizenship. It is reasonable to expect people who want to become British citizens to have worked, paid taxes, speak the language and not to have engaged in criminal acts. It is also reasonable to suggest that people who go the extra mile and volunteer in their local community might gain extra brownie points on their path to citizenship. As with so many proposals from this tired government, however, the good ideas become lost in declarations designed to court the more punitive sections of public opinion and the popular press.

In this case, the good ideas are obscured by the statement from Alan Johnson in the News of the World that points could be docked for bad behaviour. This is understandable if the government is referring to people committing criminal offences, but the notion seems to go further. The home secretary seems to want to be the chief constable of the thought police. In insisting that people demonstrate a commitment to Britain, they are suggesting that people could be barred from citizenship for engaging in “unpatriotic behaviour”. This strikes me as being distinctly un-British.

You can read the article in full HERE.

Incidentally, Lib Dem MP Evan Harris has a bitingly effective letter in today’s Guardian:

Damian Green, the Conservative immigration spokesman, complains that the government has let an “unprecedented number of people obtain citizenship”. In the interests of transparency, would the Conservative party publish a list of the categories of those of our fellow countrymen and women who they fear do not in fact deserve to have the vote?


Read more by or more about , or .
This entry was posted in LibLink.


  • “I failed badly (58%). Clearly I’m unfit to be a citizen of this country because I didn’t know…
    – that your employer cannot provide advice if you have a problem at work”

    Really – I strongly suspect there is nothing to stop them providing advice, though they might not be your first port of call!

  • Herbert Brown 6th Aug '09 - 12:17am

    Well, I had a try, but there were so many questions I couldn’t answer that I gave up about halfway through.

    On the other hand, it looked as though all the answers could be gleaned from the booklet that was being advertised on the site, so probably no harm done, albeit the whole thing is rather a pointless, meaningless waste of time.

  • Herbert Brown 6th Aug '09 - 12:39am

    Also I found it difficult to believe that the following question was written by someone whose native language was English (but that’s probably because I’m a repulsive pedant):
    “In which year did married women get the right to divorce their husband”

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Alex Macfie
    The Scottish Highlands is one of those places where electoral success depends strongly on personal popularity, and ideology is a lesser consideration. If this A...
  • David Evans
    Kit, I sad to have to contradict you, but there is evidence. You seem to be choosing to ignore it and that is a concern. All the best, David...
  • Katharine Pindar
    Correction: Michael BG's important article on how deep poverty could be ended by 2029 was of course posted here in October 2023, not 2013; the reference I gave ...
  • David LG
    Bit worried that Angus MacDonald openly identifies himself as economically right wing on the highland lib dems website, how's that going to go down in such a po...
  • Simon R
    I agree with @Peter Martin. This idea from the Tories is laughably unworkable. It's obviously an election gimmick that hasn't been at all thought through. I al...