Monday 14 January 2008, by UK Government
The British Government on January 9 2008 stressed that it is fully committed to introduce compulsory ID cards for foreign nationals as well as with a voluntary system for all British citizens, the Prime Minister has said.
Speaking to MPs during Prime Minister’s Questions, Mr Brown said that the implementation of ID cards would provide protection against illegal immigration into the country and help shield people from identity fraud. The prospect of compulsory card carrying for all people in the UK would be subject to Parliamentary debate, he added.
The PM said:
«The whole purpose of identity cards is to protect personal identity. People recognise that what the identity cards will contain is little more than the information that is now given for people’s passports.
«[The ID cards system] is the best protection we have and one of the best against illegal immigration.»
The Identity Cards Act became law in 2006, with the first cards expected to be issued to foreign nationals later in 2008.
Asked if Keith Vaz was right to say that the Prime Minister was leaving himself «wriggle-room» over the implementation of ID cards, the PMS replied that the position on ID cards had not changed. All the Prime Minister was doing today, as on the Marr programme and in the Observer at the weekend, was just setting out what the existing policy was.
Asked if the most recent timetable for implementation was still going to be adhered to, the PMS replied that there had been no change in policy or timetable in relation to ID cards.
Put that the Home Office website said very specifically that there would be compulsory identity cards after a vote in Parliament, and asked if it was still the Prime Minister’s view that identity cards would be compulsory subject to that vote, the PMS replied that it was the Government’s position that there would need to be a vote in Parliament before we had compulsory ID cards.
Asked if the Government would be timetabling such a vote, the PMS replied that at the moment the situation had not arisen. We were introducing ID cards for foreign nationals, at some point in the future there would be a vote in Parliament as to whether or not there should be compulsory ID cards for everybody. But the position was set out very clearly in the Strategic Action Plan for the National Identity Scheme that was published in December 2006. That was the most up to date position of the Government, and that remained the position.
Put that the confusion had been caused by the Prime Minister saying that this was the policy, but it was a matter for Parliament to decide after we had looked at the voluntary system in place, which seemed to leave doubt, the PMS replied that by definition the vote in Parliament would happen after identity cards had been introduced for foreign nationals. So no doubt one of the factors taken into account by Members of Parliament when voting would be the implementation of the ID card scheme up to that point. Just so everyone was clear, every time he had heard the Prime Minister talk about ID cards either publicly or privately, the formulation that he had been using in recent days had been the formulation he had used.
Put that the suggestion that the rolling out to foreign nationals this year would be a pilot for rolling out to UK citizens on a voluntary basis from 2009 was wrong, and that the rolling out to UK nationals was not dependent on the success of rolling out to foreign nationals, the PMS replied the position on this had not changed.
Source : http://www.pm.gov.uk