The Home Secretary has slotted in a last-minute change to the Government's Immigration Bill so British terror suspects can be stripped of their citizenship even if it leaves them stateless.
In an apparent effort to appease Conservative backbenchers calling for tougher measures in the new legislation, Theresa May has tabled an amendment which will allow the removal of a UK passport from any person whose conduct is deemed "seriously prejudicial to the vital interests of the UK".
The Home Secretary already has the power to take away British citizenship from those with dual nationality, however, this change would allow her to make people stateless if they have been naturalised as a British citizen.
Human rights campaigners branded the move an "alarming development" giving the Home Secretary power to "tear up people's passports without any need for the kind of due process".
But the Home Office insists powers to make British citizens stateless will be used sparingly and in strict accordance with the UK's international obligations.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper said: "Those who threaten this country's security put us all at risk. This Government will take all necessary steps to protect the public.
"Citizenship is a privilege, not a right. These proposals will strengthen the Home Secretary's powers to ensure that very dangerous individuals can be excluded if it is in the public interest to do so."
One of the most high-profile cases involving statelessness concerns Hilal al-Jedda, who fled from Iraq to the UK in 1992 as a refugee from Saddam Hussein's regime. He won asylum and in 2000 was granted British nationality.
However, he returned to Iraq in 2004 where he came under suspicion of involvement in terrorism and in 2007 was stripped of his British nationality.
Foreign criminals who can prove they face torture, ill-treatment or death in their home country will still be able to overturn deportation orders under separate human rights measures.
More than 200 foreign criminals successfully challenge deportation on human rights grounds every year with around 90% relying on the ''right to private and family life'' set out under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.