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

Of course, the provision of identity cards is reserved to the United Kingdom Parliament—that is why the Bill applies across the whole country—but my hon. Friend is right: increasingly it will not be unreasonable to ask people to identify themselves if they wish to use public services. After all, as I said just a few moments ago, every one of us probably has to identify ourselves when we go to the bank and when we buy things in the shops, and that is not a great imposition.

In relation to security, increasingly, whether we like it or not, not just in this place but elsewhere as well, it will be necessary for people to be satisfied about the identity of individuals, and I do not think that there is anything wrong with that in principle. The problem that the Liberal Democrats have is that they are in favour of security in principle, but rather like their policy on the new deal, they are against the practical means of achieving it.