Good Morning Britain was hosted by Ben Shepherd and Kate Garraway today and joining them on a live video link was the Security Minister Ben Wallace MP to discuss the matter of British ISIS schoolgirl Shamima Begum, who has said she wants to return to the UK.
Begum was one of three schoolgirls who left east London in 2015 to join the terrorist organisation.
During a recent interview with The Times, Begum, who is now 19-years-old and nine-months pregnant, revealed how she wants to return home to the UK for the sake of baby fearing it could die in the camp.
Wallace told Shepherd and Garraway about the procedure the UK government has when a request of this kind is made.
“I can’t comment on this case exactly for legal reasons,” Wallace began and then added: “[But] fundamentally it depends on her status as British citizen, whether or not she has a passport.
“[Nevertheless] she is eligible for consulate support, if she makes it to a country where there is that on offer. We as the UK are obliged that they get that support [but] we are not going to put other people at risk to go and find [her].
“If she is a British citizen, she has rights. But don’t be surprised by what reception you have when you get back. when it comes to investigation and law enforcement.
“In other cases where people have been detained and brought back under control, back to the UK, they can expect to be investigated, interviewed and prosecuted if evidence against them is shown.
“It can take a long time, but it is put to the likes of the people to make their way to the country where we provide consulate support.”
Begum is due to give birth to her third child soon, and has said she wanted the child to come to the UK, following the death of her first two children.
Wallace was clear about the approach the government would have in such situation: “I feel sympathy for children born out there, they didn’t have a choice, it wasn’t their fault, some of them have been subjected to horrendous things.
“We have to put in place special measures if they [children] come back, the adults have to face some of their responsibilities as well.
“We will look after the children as the UK government, we will do what we can. [But] if the parents have been complicit in terrorism, we will prosecute them.”
Begum had previously told The Times she had “no regrets” in travelling to Syria.
Discussing this remark, Wallace spoke about the wider impact her choice has had on people in the UK.
He said: “I see what’s left behind when people leave their families secretly. Her family, which I’m guessing are law-abiding people, would have wondered where they daughter went. People should at least regret the shame they have brought on their families and communities.
“The irony is, ISIS hates Britain, people [like Begum] have gone out to fight against Britain, when they have had enough they want to come back to the country they’ve abandoned. The irony isn’t lost on the country.”
While Begum case has caught the attention of the media and public, she is one of 850 people who have fled the UK for ISIS.
Wallace commented on the matter and said: “It’s a big problem for us all in Britain and the US. The counter terrorism act has a new offence in it, it has places in the world we can identify that if you go there without an excuse, you can be prosecuted and face 10 years in prison.”
The decision as to whether or not she can return to the UK falls into the hands of Home Secretary Sajid Javid.