Identity Cards

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 10th May 2004.

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Photo of George Osborne George Osborne Shadow Minister (Treasury) 2:30 pm, 10th May 2004

If he will make a statement on his plans to introduce identity cards.

Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Minister of State (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Nationality)

As my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary announced last November, we intend to build the base for a compulsory identity card scheme and on 26 April we published for consultation plans for identity card legislation. The Home Affairs Committee will undertake pre-legislative scrutiny of that Bill, which I welcome. If Bob Russell can keep his eyes open without discomfort, he will doubtless make a significant contribution to such scrutiny.

Photo of George Osborne George Osborne Shadow Minister (Treasury)

Since the abolition of ID cards in the 1950s, Home Office officials have tried to persuade successive Home Secretaries to reintroduce them. Why does the Minister think that this Home Secretary is the first one gullible enough to produce a White Paper on them?

Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Minister of State (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Nationality)

My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary advises me that a previous Home Secretary did produce such a document on that matter. However, the point of the hon. Gentleman's question is not who produced it, but gullibility. The hon. Gentleman should test the temperature of the hour and understand the view of the people of this country who need secure identity and security of their borders. The people are overwhelmingly in favour of developing this policy, but they want it done carefully and delivered appropriately. That is exactly what the Government will do.