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Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 8:06 pm on 20th December 2004.

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Photo of Gwyn Prosser Gwyn Prosser Labour, Dover 8:06 pm, 20th December 2004

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his generous remarks, but the issue of the three-month delay was dealt with adequately from the Front Bench during the opening speeches.

The critics of ID cards keep wheeling out the old chestnut that ID cards did not or would not stop any of the notorious terrorist attacks—we have heard that any number of times tonight—but that argument ignores the enormous amount of preparation involved in and the enormous number of people who prepare the ground for such attacks. It is well known that a significant proportion of those people lie dormant by hiding behind false identities. We have already heard that about 30 per cent. of terrorists use false identities to get by.

Our security and police chiefs—the people with the awesome responsibility of protecting us from the destructive outrages of terrorists—all say that ID cards would help them in their task. The same people tell us that, although they have already successfully disrupted and prevented more than one major terrorist attack in Britain in recent months, a further attack on the capital is inevitable rather than just likely.

So to those who argue that identity cards did not prevent 9/11 and Madrid, the security chiefs of those countries are entitled to say that although, sadly and tragically, their anti-terrorist units did not prevent the attacks, that is not to say that those units have no use or that they should never have been established in the first place.

I know from taking soundings in my area that the vast majority of my constituents want ID cards to be introduced. We know from our consultations that about 80 per cent. of the British people want ID cards to be introduced. We know that all the security people want ID cards. We know that nearly all our European partners already have some form of ID card in place. There is a rising tide of support for these timely new measures; I am happy to add my support for this important Bill tonight.

Annotations

Garry Anderson
Posted on 14 Feb 2005 3:56 pm (Report this annotation)

New Labour spin - again and again.

"The critics of ID cards keep wheeling out the old chestnut that ID cards did not or would not stop any of the notorious terrorist attacks-we have heard that any number of times tonight-but that argument ignores the enormous amount of preparation involved in and the enormous number of people who prepare the ground for such attacks."

Err.. sorry Mr Prosser, ID cards did not stop the preparation of Madrid - did it?

Indeed, many suicide bombers have no trouble at all using their own ID - ask Israel security.

The majority of those wanting ID cards (the "80 per cent") are uninformed as to all the facts.

How can people make informed opinion, when given distorted view and salient facts are hid or demeaned?

It is well known that the Blair government give the people spin (basic deception) instead of fact.

This propaganda is for several reasons, including: a) making you feel safer b) to say the government are doing something and c) the more malicious motive of privacy invasion.

Indeed, don't we all want to believe the government are trying to protect us?

Fact: ID cards will not stop suicide bombers.

P.S. Here is an analogy for you:

Any idiot knows that when you have water pouring from the ceiling in your home, there is little point in just bailing out the water forever - you have to fix the cause of leak.

Chris Lightfoot
Posted on 14 Feb 2005 7:29 pm (Report this annotation)

"Our security and police chiefs -- the people with the awesome responsibility of protecting us from the destructive outrages of terrorists -- all say that ID cards would help them in their task."

As Peter Lilley has pointed out, it is not very surprising that these people support government policy; that is, in part, what the "chiefs" are paid to do. A more interesting question is what they counsel in private; the Home Office is not letting on.

We should probably take from the fact that the Home Office is not willing to pay the £6 billion cost of the scheme out of its own budget, but instead wants to force everyone in the country to buy a card, that they don't expect it to very useful in the detection and prevention of terrorism or other crime.

Aidan Boustred
Posted on 15 Feb 2005 3:17 pm (Report this annotation)

"I know from taking soundings in my area that the vast majority of my constituents want ID cards to be introduced."

At 6 billion that's £100 each, if the question had been would you like ID cards at a cost of £100 per member of your household, I wonder how many would have gone for it.

Given that most government IT projects come in at triple original cost, a more honest question might be "at a cost of up to £300 each"

James Berry
Posted on 17 Feb 2005 6:22 pm (Report this annotation)

I'm tickled that Gwyn has access to a survey of terrorists that says that 30% of them use false IDs. I wonder which polling company carried out the research?

I'd agree with other comments on the cost of this ridiculous plan. I am sure that none of the polls showing support for ID cards has mentioned the cost of obtaining it (and of losing the card, amending address or other details etc).