Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:31 pm on 28th June 2005.

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Photo of Charles Clarke Charles Clarke Home Secretary 3:31 pm, 28th June 2005

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

I remind hon. Members that this Bill is based on the Bill that was read a Second time on 21 December 2004 and approved by this House on 10 February 2005, that the public debate started under my predecessor in 2002 and that the draft Bill was subject to six months' public consultation and pre-legislative scrutiny by the Home Affairs Committee in 2004. The Bill has been well debated.

The Bill is enabling legislation to provide the statutory authority for a national identity cards system to be introduced to cover the whole of the United Kingdom, together with the national identity register to record information on holders of ID cards. It also gives legislative authority for expenditure on setting up the ID cards scheme and for charging fees.

In brief, the Bill establishes the national identity register; provides powers to issue biometric ID cards either linked to existing designated documents or as stand-alone ID cards; ensures that checks can be made against databases to confirm an applicant's identity and guard against fraud; sets out what information will be held—including biometrics—and what safeguards will be put in place; enables public and private sector organisations to verify a person's identity, with their consent; includes enabling powers, so that, in future, access to specified public services could be linked to the production of a valid card; provides a power for it to become compulsory at a future date to register and to be issued with a card, which includes civil penalties against failure to register; creates a national identity scheme commissioner to have oversight of the whole scheme; and creates new criminal offences on the possession of false ID cards.

There has been general support for ID cards, but many serious, practical concerns have been expressed on both sides of the House, and I intend to address five of those concerns on Second Reading. First, I shall address the range of concerns around the Big Brother society—it has been described in other ways. Secondly, I shall address issues of cost, which are a serious concern for many hon. Members on both sides of the House. Thirdly, I shall set out the benefits of the scheme for both individuals and society. Fourthly, I shall address the concerns about the project's size, technology and scale. Fifthly, I shall deal with safeguards and legal processes. I shall give way at various points in my speech in line with that structure.


Ray Aldridge
Posted on 1 Jul 2005 2:21 pm (Report this annotation)

But I've already got a British Government issued ID Card, Mr Clarke, and had one for the last 40 years!!! Complete with Royal Coat of Arms on the front and everything (including my photo and sig.) It's called a passport - and the last one I got didn't cost me £300 either, or require I hand over my fingerprints, as if I were some sort of common criminal (or worse)!

Time you came clean on this issue, Mr Clarke. It's not about ID cards at all - that's just the pretext. It's the database (National Identity Register) you're really after!

Alan Taylor
Posted on 1 Jul 2005 3:14 pm (Report this annotation)

I second Ray Aldridge in that I too have a ID Card issued by the County Police Force of where I live, in the form of a gun licence which also has my photograph on it overstamped by the issueing constabulary, and every 5 years I must have a magistrate [JP] countersign the updated photographs as a true likeness - so that along with my UK Drivers licence both of which cost nowhere near that being muted for this ID Card, WHY DO I NEED ONE? BECAUSE THIS GOVERNMENT NEED IT TO FULFIL ITS DREAM OF HAVING A NATIONAL IDENTITY REGISTER. Labour activist until 1993 and Labour voter prior to this last General Election.

Aden Murcutt
Posted on 13 Jul 2005 1:08 am (Report this annotation)

The brief is undoubtedly to compile a frightening database and to use it to develop a police state but does anyone among us believe we dont already have that?

In a single stretch of the M42 from NEC to the Solihull junction (just 3 miles) you will find 37 cameras EACH WAY!!! Tell me big brother doesnt already spend a fortune watching you!

Of course, they will tell us this is for our safety - yeah right. I cant believe how much safer I am when being watched by 37 cameras than when I am watched by none. Can someone tell me how this works 'cos I dont know!