Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:21 pm on 28th June 2005.

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Photo of Mark Oaten Mark Oaten Shadow Secretary of State for Home Affairs, Home Affairs 5:21 pm, 28th June 2005

My hon. Friend's intervention illustrates the wisdom of the Welsh. I understand that the Scottish Executive have taken a similar position.

I want to address the question whether the scheme will be voluntary or compulsory. The Government say at this stage that the scheme will be voluntary, but surely that is slightly disingenuous. Are we not heading towards a situation in which perhaps half hon. Members in the Chamber will have to have an ID card in three or four years because their passports will be due for renewal, while I will not need an ID card because my passport is not due for renewal until 2012? There will be a compulsory element to the scheme for perhaps half the population as their passports gradually approach the time for renewal.

We are in a real mess. The system will mean that over the next few years it will be compulsory for some people to have an ID card, yet some people will not need a card because their passports will not be up for renewal and others will never have to hold a card because they do not have passports. However, at some point—we have not been told when—the whole system will become compulsory, so we will all be required to have ID cards.