Identity Cards

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 11th January 2005.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling The Secretary of State for Scotland, The Secretary of State for Transport 11:30 am, 11th January 2005

It just about gave me sufficient time to find out the answer. I am glad to say that, as the House may be aware, the Home Office is piloting what will be necessary to implement the ID card scheme in Glasgow. One of the things that it is considering is a mobile facility to enable people to record their details without having to travel, in this case to Glasgow. In any event, when biometric passports are introduced, which, I think, will be in about 2008, it will be necessary for people to attend to have those details recorded. As far as I am aware, the Liberals are not actually against biometric passports, but—who knows?—we could be wrong about that as well.

I remind the House that the Bill provides for a database to be established to make it possible to have identity cards in the future. For my part, I cannot see anything wrong in principle with people being asked to identify themselves for various transactions. After all, most of us are asked to identify ourselves in respect of various transactions several times a week. It would be a tragedy if, at this stage, we were not to take those steps because they might be absolutely necessary in 10 or 12 years' time. If the Liberals had their way, the country would be ill-prepared to guard against security problems, fraud and so on. So what is proposed is entirely reasonable.