The UK is wholly committed to combating any threat posed by returning terrorist fighters, who have travelled from this country to countries like Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamic State (IS).
I understand that, where appropriate, the Government will use nationality and immigration powers to deprive individuals of their British citizenship and to exclude foreign nationals from the UK whose presence here would not be conducive to the public good.
UK nationals have the right to return to this country, however, everyone who returns from the conflict in Syria or Iraq must expect to be investigated by the police to determine if they have committed criminal offences, and to ensure that they do not pose a threat to our national security.
I have been encouraged by the fact that there have already been several successful prosecutions related to travel to Syria. This includes a custodial sentence of ten years for a British national found guilty in December 2017 of membership of IS, possessing an AK47 gun and receiving £2,000 for terrorism. The minimum of 40 years for Khalid Ali who was sentenced at the beginning of the year for planning a terrorist attack in Westminster reflects how seriously this country takes the terrorist threat.
You may be pleased to know that in addition to seeking prosecution of terrorism suspects, the Home Office uses a range of tools to manage the threat posed by returners. This includes imposing travel restrictions for individuals subject to Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures and using Temporary Exclusion Orders to place in-country conditions upon their return, including regular reporting to a police station.
It is extremely concerning, however, that Stockport has been cited in press reports as a local authority to which 'Jihadists' and 'jihadi brides' may return and I will be meeting with my colleagues at the Home Office to seek clarity on this matter.