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 am happy to give that assurance. As I said in a letter to the hon. Gentleman's colleague, the Identity Cards Bill does not allow information to be provided from the national identity register to any foreign Government. That is the position—full stop. That is the state of affairs that applies, so I can give the firm assurance that the hon. Gentleman seeks.

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Chris Lightfoot
Posted on 2 Jul 2005 11:53 pm (Report this annotation)

This is true but misleading. The Bill does not create a power to share information with any foreign government, but it does not need to: such sharing of information is permitted by the Data Protection Act (mentioned by Clarke as a safeguard on the NIR) for a variety of purposes, including crime prevention and the preservation of national security. This is typically interpreted quite broadly and it is probable that information from the NIR will be supplied to foreign governments in relation to immigration checks.

If the Home Office did not intend that data be shared with foreign governments they would have inserted a clause in the Bill prohibiting such sharing. No such clause exists.

Chris Lightfoot
Posted on 4 Jul 2005 10:46 am (Report this annotation)

"... including crime prevention ..." -- no, I was wrong on this -- the national security exemption extends to exporting the data, but that for crime prevention does not. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/80029--d.htm#27 refers.

Chris Lightfoot
Posted on 27 May 2006 3:25 am (Report this annotation)

Charles Clarke is gone, but not forgotten; his legacy at the Home Office lives on. According to Joan Ryan, now Minister of State responsible for ID cards, Clarke's answer here was incorrect:
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2006-05-23a.67293.h