Smith: Police won’t demand your ID card

The police will not demand proof of ID from people in the street, Jacqui Smith has promised.

The home secretary was forced to deny the idea after civil liberties groups found a clause in the upcoming immigration bill expanding powers previously only active at entry points to the UK.

“The intention is only to enable ID checks at the border,” Ms Smith told MPs in a debate on the Queen’s Speech.

There are no plans for “in country” ID checks, she continued.

She said she felt the need to make the statement on the record after extensive coverage of the clause.

The Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, who both oppose ID cards, welcomed the statement.

But civil liberty groups will be nonplussed at the statement, given the explicit powers the bill grants.

The relevant section said the powers applied to people who “arrive in, enter or seek to enter the UK”.

But sub-clause refers to anyone who “has entered the UK,” indicating it would apply to anyone who has ever taken a holiday.