Skip to content or view screen version

Second Hearing of the Identity Cards Bill

Sparta | 20.12.2004 19:49

Here is a very rough summary of the first three hours of the parliaments second hearing of the identity cards bill. It has been posted 'as taken', so excuse any discrepancies. Where the speaker is refered to as 'MP', i did not know the MP's name. Otherwise i have reffered to the speaker by his name.
Of note is Charles Clarkes shift from the voluntary to the compulsory nature of the system. Also of note is Mark Oaten's (lib dem) talk against the card.

Charles Clarke:

Will offer a variety of benefits

MP –

Will there not be false cards on the market before the real ones?

CC –

Biometric card is an effective way of preventing frauds

MP -

4,500 of checkers, £1.1 billion cost

Scottish parliament decides how the card is to be used

CC –

Says they will help (much booing)
Will not solve problems, but help solve them.

MP –

Very few benefits from a voluntary possession scheme

CC –

Actually there will be benefits, definitely shall not make it compulsory to carry

MP –

Argues that it is an incremental process towards forced carrying

CC –

Denies it shall lead to a 1984 situation
Does not deny that this paves the way towards compulsory carrying
MP’s should vote against if they are against compulsory carrying
Biometric is superior to a numerical system
Argues that there are definite benefits to stopping terrorism

Government withholding information from the select committee is ‘false’ – see guardian story.

CC –
Claims that this will enforce a police state is ‘false’
Relationship between the citizenship and the state shall not change as a result of the ID cards (response to conservative MP brandishing 1984)
Not looking to create a new culture of identification
Do not propose a compulsory scheme

MP –
No logic behind the card unless it was compulsory

CC –
Powers of police shall not change in respect to id.
Will ultimately lead to a compulsory scheme.

MP –
Argue that the ID card should have medical records on it as voluntary option.
CC –
This shall not be included in this legislation

CC –
No organizations allowed to have access to information

CC – (response to implementation questions)
Fully support the idea of using technology.
Will not exclude any technological process

CC – (Will it be hacker proof)
We can create a secure system.

CC – (can you guarantee that everyone is allowed access)
There is a civic provision.

MP – (Section 16C – How can you declare your date of death)

CC – (We need a bill of rights to go with the cards like other EU states)
Producing a change where people can be identified with ease
An ‘enhancement of civil liberties’
Does not agree with a bill of rights
Secure record of information is what is important, not the card itself

CC – (What sanction to those will not inform of the change of address?)
Civil not criminal sanctions
CC – (Will the landlord will be responsible for submitting the change of address as in Germany?)
Will be considered.

CC –
Will not accept that it is principally correct.

David Davis (shadow home sec) –
Must be considered after 9/11

MP – The government isn’t trusted, therefore we should not let them hold this kind of information – Is a joint committee not important to include all of the parties, and not make it just a governmental one?
MP – What if the government refuses to allow the joint committee?
MP – A real danger of function creep – Clause 25 means the sec of state will be allowed to doctor commission reports before put to government

DD – Defers to later in speech

[Amendment tabled – That the ID card will not deliver what the government believes]

MP –
The US suffered the attack but are not introducing the cards, so why should we?
DD –
They already have photo driving licences, different situation.
MP –
Security services have asked for ID cards.

DD –
Mission creep. Which are the priorities for the card?
Why have cards that are not compulsory – is this just leading to compulsory cards?
It may be open to viruses? All technology is imperfect – therefore, if people create a good forged card, they will have unlimited access to ‘the system’.

MP – What if someone produces initially false information when applying for an ID card?
DD –
We must just ensure that the system is robust

Secondary legislation –
What if this asks for criminal convictions etc. are added to it?
MP – John Denham (Lab)
It is already available to the police.

MP – Roger Cale –
When so much has failed, why should we trust the government?

JD –
We need to adopt a more open procurement system, such as italy.
Issue of cost – detail costing needed.
Series of societal problems, and the ID cards shall help solve them.

Mark Oaten (Lib Dem) –
Although 80% of house behind it – many people you speak to do not want it.
Will become highly unpopular after debate.
Concerend about cost, civil liberties, feasibility, implementation.

Alex Salmond (SNP)
Lack of enthusiasm for the cards noted

Mark Oaten -
Reccomendation to the conservatives – don’t follow the opinion poles then maybe you will do better in the elections.
If conservatives support the bill, they need to demonstrate that all the tests have been met.
ID cards wrong both in practice and in principal.
Issues of effectiveness, issues of database, issue of how this will effect ethnic minorities.
Terrorism – ‘35% of terrorists use false ID’
They don’t need the ID to commit the crimes. Madrid bombers etc. did not use false id.
Having information will not stop the determined terrorists.
How can you make sure that the individual terrorists have not created false ID? If they have false root information, they shall be issued with the ID card which will be seen as valid despite it being false. You would need an international system (within G8?) to try and counter this. The kind of country where these people will come from will not sign up to the biometric ideal.
Benefit and health fraund – Most fraud that takes place has nothing to do with ID – only around 5%. No answers from the Home Sec on how this will all work? Will you need reading systems in every GP etc. Who will operate the kit? What training is needed? What happens if the system breaks down? Who decides who needs to be asked? Will you be turned away without an ID card?
Illegal working – Already powers exist on how you handle this. You can check individuals working papers. Only 2 individuals prosecuted in 2002 for illegal immigrants. Why? Because they couldn’t find where the workers were, how will ID help this?
Civil liberties for workers – Regulatory Impact assessment – Cultural problems associated with discrimination. Government admit that only certain groups will be asked – cultural and legal problems ‘those who don’t look british’.
Costs –
Changing figures. £85 million plus £10 million a year further. £11 million for post offices alone. How can legislation be scrutinized when there are no figures? Track record of government points to escalating costs.
Within 15-20 years, linking to security cameras? Will it add on DNA information?
Voluntary/Compulsory – Intellectually better for it to be compulsory despite his objection. Walking into a chaotic system over who does or does not need cards. Two tier system.
Change to society – if you look like a migrant you can be stopped. You have to go and present yourself to centres.

David Winnick (lab) – Not persuaded of ID ability to prevent terrorism. If they were to help prevent terrorism, why is it not an immediate motion? Does not believe that it will help with the illegal worker problem. Other ID countries have not shown an improvement in illegal workers as a result of ID cards. As it is already a criminal offence, the money should be spent on enforcing current rules. Function group – in 1939, three states purposes of brining ID card – conscription, voting, rationing. This escalated to 39 reasons. What are the implications of this in the future? Concern with the NIR.
Reason for support is people have high expectations. As it will not happen in practice, many people will be very disappointed.

Douglas Hogg (con) – Are the benefits proportional to the cost? Technology is unreliable. Fraud – Never encountered a document that can not be forged. Enabling bill, subsequent requirements shall be made by secondary resolutions. Costs – every public sector budget is seriously overrun. Are there not better ways of spending that money?
Every major computer scheme has gone terribly wrong. Could cause grave injustice.
Principals – Tilt of balance towards the state, should not be done. Once the possession of cards is mandatory, the police will use ‘stop and search’ in a vigorous manner. You can be sure that the powers will be used most vigorously against the ethnic minorities. The rouse shall be huge due to the misuse of power.
1915 act was followed by 1918 act to enforce compulsory ID carrying.
Unfair power given to the state, the power to arrest as one does not have a card.

Jon Owen Jones (Lab Co-op) – Pro id speech…. Went to the toilet and skipped it…

John Gummer (Con) – Huge lack of trust in the labour government, hence trust running away from the id cards. However, behind the motion, disagrees with Labour’s method of presenting the situation. Argues that there is a lack of democracy within the government!
Conservatives will not back it in future unless it includes a parliamentary debate that offers fair debate.

Andrew Bennet (Lab) – Politics is about priorities. Money would be better spent on eliminating child poverty, providing affordable housing, care for elderly. Putting this money in is wrong. Families on low incomes will find it a considerable expense to gain identity cards. Technology is highly questionable. Crime is an important issue to tackle, but this is not going to be successful. When it becomes compulsory, it will become a society of fear. Idea of false security. It requires everyone being checked for it to happen, which is impossible. This will lead to ‘a police state’.

Brian Mawhinney (con) – 9/11 told us all the we had a new breed of criminal, and that the subsequent rash of suicide bombers tells us that the world of criminality has changed. For better or for worse, the state is now far more intrusive than it was.