Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Clause 1 — The National Identity Register

Part of Orders of the Day — Identity Cards Bill – in the House of Commons at 5:00 pm on 18th October 2005.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alistair Carmichael Alistair Carmichael Shadow Spokesperson (Home Affairs), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Home Affairs) 5:00 pm, 18th October 2005

The right hon. and learned Gentleman is right, and his intervention allows me to explain why the concerns about the widely drawn nature of the purposes in clause 1 are important. The debate is not simply about the possession of an identity, but about how the Government have constructed their proposals. They intend to set up a register of the information provided, and then the Bill details how that information is to be used—when, where, and for what purpose.

In effect, the Bill establishes a personal footprint for each individual that the Government can access—apparently at any time and for any reason, just about —to find where people have been and what they have been doing. As I and others have said in the House before, the Bill redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state, or the individual and the Government. It seems to proceed on the assumption that, in some way, the people are accountable to the Government. My contention is that that should be the other way around—that the Government should be accountable to the people. If the Government need access to the personal footprint that I have described, they should provide a coherent and compelling reason.