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Jihadists fighting in Syria to be 'stripped of nationality'

The Home Secretary has stepped up the use of powers to strip jihadists fighting in Syria of their British nationality, it emerged tonight.

Up to 240 Britons are believed to be in Syria and Theresa May has targeted 20 dual-nationals this year using "deprivation of citizenship orders", which take immediate effect.

Theresa May seeks to hike up powers to strip jihadists of British citizenship. Credit: REUTERS/Shaam News Network/Handout

It marks a rapid increase in the use of the powers, which had only previously been deployed 17 times in two and a half years, records uncovered by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and published in The Independent show.

Almost all of the orders made this year, which do not need judicial approval, were issued while the jihadists were overseas, it found.

Lee Rigby murder 'united entire nation in condemnation'

Home Secretary Theresa May has said the murder of soldier Lee Rigby "united the entire nation in condemnation".

Michael Adebolajo, 29, and Michael Adebowale, 22, were found guilty of the murder of Fusilier Lee Rigby near Woolwich Barracks in May.

Theresa May said the attack 'united the entire nation in condemnation'. Credit: PA Wire

"The sickening and barbaric murder of Drummer Lee Rigby united the entire nation in condemnation and I welcome the jury's decision," May said.

"But we must not forget that this appalling and public act of violence and terror also robbed his family and loved ones of a brave, young man with his life ahead of him. My thoughts are with them at this difficult time."

Read: Adebolajo's bloodied attempt to justify murder

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May refuses to be drawn on Clegg's criticism

Home Secretary Theresa May has refused to be drawn on Nick Clegg's criticism of her department, telling the Home Affairs Select Committee, "I'm going to address the issue rather than an individual."

Ms May told the committee today: "He has, as I understand it, made a statement on the basis of if we were going to do this now, this is what the situation would be.

Home Secretary Theresa May addresses the Home Affairs Select Committee.
Home Secretary Theresa May addresses the Home Affairs Select Committee. Credit: PA/PA Wire

"What I'm saying is, I'm not proposing to do it now. We're talking about potential reforms of accession treaties for the future."

Read: Coalition split over EU free movement reforms

Theresa May blocks MPs' request to question MI5 chief

MI5 chief Andrew Parker will not appear before a group of MPs next year after the Home Secretary refused the request.

Mr Parker and the Prime Minister's national security adviser, Sir Kim Darroch, were invited to appear before the Home Affairs Select Committee and give evidence to its inquiry into counter-terrorism.

But Committee chairman Keith Vaz has received two letters from Theresa May and David Cameron respectively declining the requests.

File photo of MI5 chief Andrew Parker.
MI5 chief Andrew Parker who will not appear before a group of MPs next year. Credit: PA Wire

Mr Vaz said, "Ministers should take care not to dictate to parliamentary committees which witnesses can be called and for what reasons".

The Committee was hoping to grill them over the publication of information contained in top-secret documents leaked by US National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Read: Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger defends 'patriotic' staff

May: Govts must be allowed to limit immigration

Theresa May is frustrated by failure to tackle free movement abuse. Credit: ITV News

Home Secretary Theresa May says EU countries should be able to put a cap on immigration numbers if they believe that there are issues around economic migration.

Speaking at a meeting in Brussels, she said:

" I think we need to be able to slow full access to free movement until we can be sure that mass migration is not going to take place.

"That, for example, could be by requiring new member states to reach a certain level of income or economic outlook ahead before full free movement rights are allowed."

Theresa May to challenge the EU on free movement

Theresa May wants to limit free movement within Europe. Credit: PA Wire/Oli Scarff

The Home Secretary is to challenge her European counterparts to change the way free movement rules work across the region at a meeting in Brussels.

Theresa May will tell justice and home affairs ministers of fellow European Union (EU) member states the UK is frustrated by the European Commission's failure to tackle free movement abuse.

Ahead of the meeting, Mrs May discussed measures to tackle this abuse such as applying a cap on numbers if European immigration reaches certain thresholds.

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May: Tackling modern slavery 'a personal priority'

Tackling modern slavery in Britain is a "personal priority", the Home Secretary has said following the discovery of three women allegedly held as slaves for at least 30 years.

Theresa May said details were still emerging in the case in Brixton, south London, but it was clear that many other victims were "hidden in plain sight" across the country.

Home Secretary Theresa May.
Home Secretary Theresa May said tackling slavery in modern Britain is a 'personal priority'. Credit: Oli Scarff/PA Wire

Writing in The Sunday Telegraph, Ms May said the "one positive" of the case was that more people were aware of the issue of slavery which still has "shocking presence in modern Britain".

She wrote, "It is walking our streets, supplying shops and supermarkets, working in fields, factories or nail bars, trapped in brothels or cowering behind the curtains in an ordinary street: slavery".

'Astonishing' May unsure if terror suspect had passport

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper told ITV News it was "astonishing" Theresa May did not know whether a terror suspect who escaped surveillance by wearing a burqa had his passport with him.

On-the-run terror suspect Mohammed Ahmed Mohamed, who is seeking damages from the Government over torture allegations, reportedly cut off his monitoring tag with a sharp object before fleeing.

Ms Cooper said: "The idea that the Home Secretary doesn't know even whether he has his passport or not is astonishing.

"It's another sign that the TPims regime Theresa May brought in - that weakened the controls - is simply not working."

Read: Terror suspect on the run 'not a direct threat to UK'

Govt: Special visas for tycoons help economic growth

Special visas for top business executives will help Britain "succeed in the global race", the Home Secretary has said.

Theresa May promised "to listen and respond" to the needs of business as it would help economic growth.

I created UK Visas and Immigration in March to provide a focus on delivering excellent customer service.

These changes will allow us to maintain a world class, competitive visa system that can innovate in order to serve the ever-changing needs of business and ensure Britain succeeds in the global race.

We will continue to listen and respond to the needs of high-value and high-priority businesses so that we can provide them with a service that supports economic growth, while at the same time maintains the security of our borders.

– Home Secretary Theresa May

Other steps being taken by the Government as part of efforts to encourage business visitors include expanding the priority visa service from 67 countries to over 90 countries by spring 2014.

Special visas for business chiefs announced

High-flying business executives will be invited to a special visa service, providing "bespoke" support through UK Visas and Immigration, the Home Secretary announced.

Border control
Business tycoons will still have to go through the same visa checks to get into the UK. Credit: PA

Theresa May said around 100 tycoons with strong links to Britain would benefit from the special visas.

Those using the visas would still have to go through the same checks as ordinary travellers, but would be provided with a dedicated account manager to ensure a "swift and smooth" journey through the system.

The new scheme will operate as a 12-month pilot, starting in the new year.

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