Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:22 pm on 28th June 2005.

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Photo of Peter Robinson Peter Robinson DUP, Belfast East 6:22 pm, 28th June 2005

I appreciate my hon. Friend's contribution. His comments are relevant and we shall take them into account.

I want to comment briefly not only on the potential access of another Government but on that of individuals to the information. There is a natural anxiety that the enabling powers allow the Secretary of State to add to the information that may be stored in the database, and that others may get possession of it. It is essential that we know the levels of security that will be placed on the information that might be stored. I am worried that the enabling power would allow the Home Secretary to add further identifiers through secondary legislation.

Secondary legislation would be most unsatisfactory for dealing with changes in such an important measure. It does not give the House the ability to amend; we would simply be asked to accept, on a take-it-or-leave-it basis, any package that the Home Secretary might introduce.

The Government could just about get away with charging for a voluntary identity card but none of us would accept having to pay for a compulsory card. If the Government expect the card to do everything that they hope it will do, that will not happen with a voluntary card. The Government must have a compulsory identity card if they expect it to have the range of impacts that they outlined. If it is compulsory, it must be free to the end user.