Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:14 pm on 28th June 2005.

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Photo of Austin Mitchell Austin Mitchell Labour, Great Grimsby 7:14 pm, 28th June 2005

That is absolutely true, and I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for putting that point, which he omitted from his own speech. I entirely agree with him, and each escalation of costs will mean increasing loss of support for the whole scheme.

Several speakers have pointed to the dilemma between "must have" and "must carry". There is no point in having "must have" without having "must carry". One will surely follow the other as night follows day, but the Government are now telling us that they will not have a "must carry" rule because it will affront middle-class opinion. There are some who want identity cards for other people but not for themselves, just as we all want discipline imposed on other people's children but not necessarily on our own, and there is a danger that that section of opinion will be affronted.

Of course the cards will be made compulsory to carry. What is the point of having an ID system that allows people to respond to police requests to produce the card by saying, "I am sorry, but I do not have the card with me"? It sometimes happens to me when I forget my pass and I am sometimes asked to report to the police station tomorrow morning, and I disappear into the night—or, in the case of Grimsby, into the sea. The one will follow the other.