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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

Yes, because I need to counter that. I do not want to appear rude, Ms Chakrabarti, but that is frankly nonsense. As I am sure you are aware, in the Act as it currently stands while we are debating this Bill, that was not allowed. First, the card was not compulsory, and we had no plans to make it compulsory; secondly, it did not need to be presented. It is important to get that right on the record: it was actually not legal to require someone to present the card for access to any public service. It is important to get those facts absolutely straight. In terms of race relations, it could not have been used as a border within the country. That is absolute nonsense.

In terms of civil liberties, the card would have put the citizen in control of their data, because no one could have had access to anything without the permission of the card owner, without the card present and, crucially, without their fingerprints. I would counter the argument and suggest that by removing the measures, we are going back to the old system of multiple databases across Government. We are reducing that. I wonder whether there are any final comments from the witnesses.