British citizens who leave the country to join jihadist groups such as ISIS may be prevented from returning home for at least two years, Prime Minister David Cameron said today.
The Telegraph reports that the law was proposed after Britain's security threat level was raised to its second-highest level in August due to the increasing number of British jihadists returning to the country. This year alone, a reported 500 Britons have travelled to Iraq and Syria to join ISIS, and around half of them are thought to have returned to Britain. More than 200 people have been arrested for terror threats in 2014.
Cameron made the announcement in an address to the Australian Parliament in which he said Britain had to take action to deal with the threat posed by "foreign fighters planning attacks against our people"
"We have to confront this threat at its source," Cameron said before heading to Brisbane for the Group of 20 Leaders Summit.
The tough new counter-terrorism bill will also prevent airlines that do not comply with Britain's no-fly lists or security screening measures from landing on its territory. In addition, police will be able to seize passports to stop suspects travelling abroad and to stop British nationals returning unless they submit to screening processes.
Those that repeatedly try to return to Britain will be interviewed by police and either face prosecution, tough restrictions on their movements or be forced to attend de-radicalisation programs.
Cameron also addressed the "new and pressing challenge" of getting extremist material taken down from the internet.
"In the UK we are pushing companies to do more, including strengthening filters, improving reporting mechanisms and being more proactive in taking down this harmful material," he said.
The PM argued that to effectively rid the country of extremism, it must be squashed at its root.
"The root cause of the challenge we face is the extremist narrative. So we must confront this extremism in all its forms. We must ban extremist preachers from our countries. We must root out extremism from our schools, universities and prisons."