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Clause 1 — Registration: provision of signature and date of birth

Part of Orders of the Day — Election Fraud (Northern Ireland) Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:00 pm on 31st October 2001.

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Photo of Rt Hon David Trimble Rt Hon David Trimble First Minister of Northern Ireland, Leader of the Ulster Unionist Party 8:00 pm, 31st October 2001

Indeed, and I notice that, at the end of his comments, the hon. Gentleman came towards what will be the eventual solution, namely, an identity card system. I am sure that, in time, we will come to that, but how long will the luddites in the Home Office and the Northern Ireland Office prevent us from moving towards that solution?

It is ironic that the current national insurance number system developed out of compulsory wartime identity cards. As Mr. Field suggested, over the years that system may have fallen into confusion and may need to be overhauled completely. That overhaul will come when we move to a nationwide system of compulsory identity cards—the issue can be resolved then.

I do not wish to delay our proceedings, because I know that other Members wish to speak. I simply wish to put on the record the fact that we support the amendment. I have read the Committee debates and I have not seen any reason why we should not. The House has had a little fun at the Minister's expense, but he could put an end to that and do himself and the Government much credit by undertaking seriously to consider our proposal.