Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:10 pm on 28th June 2005.

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Photo of David Winnick David Winnick Labour, Walsall North 5:10 pm, 28th June 2005

If my hon. Friend will forgive me, I will continue.

The previous Home Secretary accepted, like my right hon. Friend today, that the mass murders that took place in Istanbul and Madrid would not have been prevented by identity cards, however biometric they might be. I did hear my right hon. Friend say today, however, that it was easier for the Spanish to identify the culprits. I have doubts about that. After all, the Spanish have been faced with a long, murderous campaign by ETA, and have they been successful in identifying those responsible? Again, I have doubts.

We are told that the police consider that the cards would generally be a help. Were it left to the police, however, I wonder whether identity cards would ever have been abolished in the first place. As hon. Members know, a case brought by a police constable in 1952, which was thrown out by the court, led the Government of the day to abolish them.

As has been mentioned, all this started some three years ago as a Home Office consultation document described as being about entitlement, not identity cards. It gave all the reasons—such as fraud and so on—why it would be useful to have what was described as an entitlement card. It had nothing to do with terrorism whatsoever. Indeed, the point was made in that 2002 Home Office consultation document that in respect of identity fraud, such a card could do a disservice. It argued that too much reliance would be placed on the card and that the usual safeguards currently employed by financial institutions and others could go by the board.

I have the utmost fear that—