Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:35 pm on 28th June 2005.

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Photo of John Denham John Denham Chair, Home Affairs Committee 6:35 pm, 28th June 2005

I hope that the Minister will imply some flexibility. The present timetable is unfortunate, because of the time being taken to establish Select Committees. The Commons Committee stage will have been completed before any Select Committees, including the Home Affairs Committee, have been formed and can carry out further scrutiny. I think that further scrutiny of the Bill would be useful.

The Government need to do something about what still appears to be the lack of a cross-Government approach. Rightly or wrongly, we are left with the impression that the Bill is a Home Office project that the rest of Government has agreed not to block, rather than a project taken on enthusiastically by Government as a whole. One of the symptoms is a failure to grasp the opportunity, identified by the Home Affairs Committee, to use the ID card as a way of joining up and simplifying access to public services. That leaves us with the risk of inefficient use of the investment in the system and later, perhaps, the rather expensive job of adjusting what is now being done to provide what many citizens would like—a card providing easy access to a number of public services.