Identity Cards Bill
Lord Bassam of Brighton (Government Whip (technically a Lord in Waiting, HM Household); Labour)
My Lords, I am interested that the noble Lord thinks he is malleable. I have not noticed him being putty in our hands before. He is a very agreeable noble Lord, as is the noble Baroness, to deal with on practical matters.
On the first question he raised, the issue of warning letters will not be dealt with in the Bill in the way he would like to see, but it will be incorporated as a matter of procedure in the code. We think that is where it is most appropriate, and that is how we intend to deal with it.
On his second point, the consultation requirement is in Clauses 16 and 17 because there will be representative bodies of users of public services who would be appropriate to consult; for example, education and health interest groups in particular. But which members of the public are likely to be affected by the code of practice on civil penalties? Perhaps it is those who intend as a matter of misguided principle, one might say, not to comply with the provisions of the Bill. I cannot accept that special arrangements must necessarily be made to consult with those who intend to defy the law.
The code will of course be laid before Parliament—as I said earlier on the website, so people can look at it carefully there—and we think that is sufficient. There will be ample scope for consultation within the framework we have set out. It will be extensive, and it is our intention to reach out to those groups who would otherwise ordinarily feel excluded from consultation, because we need to have their views on the way these procedures and penalties would operate.