Identity Cards Bill (Programme) (No. 2)
Mr Mark Fisher (Stoke-on-Trent Central, Labour)
This is a major Bill because it takes us into wholly uncharted waters in terms of the relationship between the individual and the state, yet we are trying to discuss it in one afternoon—the shortest of the week. It may not be a constitutional Bill, but it is semi-constitutional, in that it distinguishes a new era for the relationship between the individual and the state. A sane Parliament would give it at least two full days of debate.
Like other hon. Members, I supported the Bill on Second Reading, but with considerable reservations. I did not object to the card itself, but had many reservations about the details, such as the role of the commissioner, what will be on the register and our ability to access and change erroneous material on it. I was hoping, and thought that I had assurances from the Government, that many of those things would be addressed and changed in Committee, but I cannot see that they have been. This is the first opportunity for Back Benchers such as me, who have serious and growing reservations, to hear the debate and participate in it—yet, as hon. Members on both sides of the House have said, we simply will not have enough time.
This is a hugely important Bill and once we pass it, the relationship between individuals and the state will never be the same again. I regret bitterly that this afternoon we will be so constrained in our consideration. The Government are making a huge error.