Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:50 pm on 28th June 2005.

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Photo of Tony McNulty Tony McNulty Minister of State (Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality), Home Office 9:50 pm, 28th June 2005

I agree with Mr. Garnier that there were 33 speeches; his sort of made 34. May I also say that we can now, with some degree of confidence, rule him out of the forthcoming leadership election?

There were a range of speeches, which were in the main well tempered and good-humoured. I am grateful to the House for a debate in which Members expressed a range of views about details in the Bill and details that are yet to be subject to parliamentary discussion. I make no apology for repeating that this is enabling legislation. There is much still to be done in terms of detail, regulations and all the other elements.

I congratulate my hon. Friend Mr. Winnick on his consistency, at least, in being opposed to ID cards; I have no difficulty with his position.

Mr. Oaten needs to be slightly more careful in what he says, because some of the points that he made raised obtuseness to a fine art. The notion that, even if we got to the stage where cards were used for public service entitlements, a woman who chose to have a termination would be in fear of that data being on the database is ludicrous in the extreme and unbecoming of the hon. Gentleman. His point about e-documents shows no understanding of what we are doing in terms of e-borders and the legislation that will be implemented in full by 2008.

My hon. Friend Mr. Howarth said that the project is feasible. I agree, of course, that there are further issues to be addressed; that was a theme throughout.

Mr. Hogg said that the provision is intrusive and that he disagrees with it. He made more or less the same speech as he has made for the past four years, to no avail.

My hon. Friend Lynne Jones made a very impressive speech on costs and technology suggesting that the items that we have put forward do not stack up. I simply do not agree with her in that regard, but we can have more debate on that matter.

Mr. Robinson made a measured and tempered speech. The Bill does not refer in any way to foreigners or foreign Governments, but the answer to his real concern is that the Bill does not permit information to be disclosed except in the specific circumstances clearly set out in the Bill. The relevant authorities include the police, security services and UK Government Departments. Other UK public authorities may be added by order, but only public authorities under the Human Rights Act 1998—that is, only UK authorities. The Bill allows information to be passed to law enforcement authorities overseas, but only in the case of serious crime. That is not a new power but a replication of powers that are already in the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

There is no power in the Bill to provide information to other Governments, including the Government of the Republic of Ireland. The measure contains no power to add other Governments by Order.

I congratulate the three maiden speakers. I am sad that time does not allow me to go into more detail about what they said, but all three spoke eloquently, and with a good deal of generosity about their predecessors, for which I am grateful.

I am sorry that my hon. Friend Mr. Harris was a victim of identity fraud but he showed clearly how the application registration card—ARC—for asylum seekers can be used well.

I am pleased that my hon. Friend Glenda Jackson does not regard the Home Secretary as a snake oil salesman or a huckster. I am grateful for those comments. She is right that, in the past, there has been a great deal of overselling of the case for the card and all it can do. It can help and supplement but it cannot deal with terrorism in the way in which it was suggested the Government claimed—[Interruption.]

Annotations

Chris Lightfoot
Posted on 3 Jul 2005 2:28 am (Report this annotation)

"The notion that, [...] a woman who chooses to have a termination will be in fear of that data being on the database is ludicrous in the extreme and unbecoming of the hon. Gentleman." -- in fact, this is a perfectly reasonable concern, as I have stated above:
http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debate/?id=2005-06-28.1191.0&a...

"There is no power in the Bill to provide information to other Governments, including the Government of the Republic of Ireland. The measure contains no power to add other Governments by Order." -- as stated above, no such power would be required for data sharing to take place. There is no prohibition on such sharing in the Bill, either, and we should take it that it would take place if it were felt to be convenient by a future government.

"My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Medway (Mr. Marshall-Andrews) was wrong in his supposition that there will be an open book for adding data to the database. Clauses 1, 3 and 43 and schedule 1 make that clearr. To suggest that DNA, health records, criminal records or other medical records can be included is plumb wrong." -- this is misleading. The Home Secretary would be able at any time to add to the list of things to be recorded in each registered person's entry in the Register by statutory instrument.