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Britons in Syria and Iraq should be presumed guilty, Boris Johnson says

‘Britons who travel to “war areas” should be presumed potential terrorists unless they can prove otherwise, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said.

Writing in his Daily Telegraph column, he called for tougher powers to deal with British extremists who leave the UK to fight in Iraq and Syria.

He said there should be a “presumption” that Britons who go without telling UK authorities have a “terrorist purpose”.

Deputy PM Nick Clegg said changing the law would not help defeat extremists.

And former attorney general Dominic Grieve said Mr Johnson’s proposal undermined UK values.

The Human Rights Act states that anyone charged with a criminal offence in the UK is “presumed innocent until proved guilty”.

But Mr Johnson wrote: “The law needs a swift and minor change so that there is a ‘rebuttable presumption’ (which shifts the burden of proof on to the defendant) that all those visiting war areas without notifying the authorities have done so for a terrorist purpose.” ‘

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