Asma al-Assad, the British-born wife of the Syrian president, has been subjected to a travel ban and asset freeze in the European Union, after revelations about an online shopping spree from retailers in London and Paris.
As a British citizen, the 36-year-old former investment banker will, however, be free to travel to Britain, though William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said that was unlikely given current circumstances in her adopted country. “British passport holders do obviously have a right of entry to the United Kingdom,” said Mr Hague. Mr Assad’s mother, sister and sister-in-law, eight ministers and two oil companies were added to an existing EU blacklist that now totals 126 individuals and 41 firms or utilities. “The behaviour of the Assad family continues to be murdering and totally unacceptable in the eyes of the world,” said Mr Hague. However, The Daily Telegraph has learned that the Home Office is in the early stages of examining the possibility of revoking Mrs Assad’s British citizenship, which was gained by birth. She only left Britain in 2000 to marry Mr Assad as he took over from his late father.
Sajid Javid, the MP for Bromsgrove, has asked Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to consider using her powers under the 2006 Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act, which allow the deprivation of a person’s citizenship if it is deemed “conducive to the public good” and doing so would not render that person stateless.