'She should face the music here' - Former army chief weighs in on Isis bride Shamima Begum
© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2010
The former head of the British Army has said the Home Office is making a serious mistake by attempting to strip Shamima Begum of her citizenship.
Lord Richard Dannatt, who lives in Keswick, near Norwich, said the UK had an obligation to bring the so-called ‘Isis bride’ back to our shores to face justice.
Ms Begum, 19, left the UK four years ago, aged 15, with two other girls to join the jihad in Syria.
Lord Dannatt said: “She is a British citizen so she should come back to this country and face the music here.
“She has behaved very badly, there’s no doubt about that. It is likely that she has given support in some shape or form to an illegal regime that has set itself up against our values and our society.
“She should be held in custody and some form of punitive sanctions should be visited upon her.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Lord Dannatt also said Europe was safe from war despite Brexit and the rise of populism, and that Donald Trump was only “partly right” in declaring “mission accomplished” against Isis.
He spoke to this newspaper primarily as part of a forthcoming series on the legacy of Britain’s involvement in this century’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
He said: “The kind of intra-European fighting that characterised the 20th Century - I don’t see that happening again. The economies of Europe are characterised by interdependency, and this partly comes about through membership of the European Union but also through Nato, which binds the US and Canada into the security of Europe.
“I have some sympathy with the argument that we never should have joined the EU at all. Churchill didn’t mean for us to be included when he spoke about a ‘united states of Europe’ - he saw us as a bridge between the USA and Europe and we’ve always been the awkward boy in the corner. Perhaps David Cameron made an error by offering a referendum, perhaps it would have been better to have left that sleeping dog lying.
“It will be bumpy whatever happens but actually it could be OK in the medium to long-term.”
Speaking about Trump and Isis, he added: “He might be right, narrowly, to say it’s job done in Syria, but it’s not job done in terms of countering the Islamist agenda.”