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Identity Documents Bill

Part of the debate – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:43 am on 29th June 2010.

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Photo of Meg Hillier Meg Hillier Shadow Minister (Home Office) 10:43 am, 29th June 2010

I find that interesting and a bit puzzling, because eight out of 10 British citizens currently have a British passport and there has been a passport database for some time—I have seen paper records from 1916, for instance. Those data are kept for quite a long time. It is important to prove citizenship, even after someone’s death, for their relatives. That data are held and used for many purposes—for example in the passport validation service. Someone can ring up and check data against the register. They are used if you apply for a driving licence. You can get data downloaded from the passport database and make sure your driving licence is included. So if we have that database, what is the particular concern about a national identity register, which had a number of security measures that were taken very seriously by the previous Government? In fact, Ms Chakrabarti was invited to be involved in some of those discussions, although we never got a response from her office. We were open to hearing such things when we were in Government and keen to ensure that the new passport database was even more secure than the old one. I am puzzled. What is the problem with databases?