ID cards ‘poison pill strategy’

By politics.co.uk staff

The Conservatives have accused the government of introducing a ‘poison pill’ strategy to their ID cards scheme by writing a clause on the contract which will cost £40 million if the cards are cancelled.

The clause could become highly significant if the Tories win the next general election, because the party has promised to scrap the scheme.

“It looks as if the government is deliberately making it as expensive as possible for a future Conservative government to scrap ID cards,” shadow home secretary Chris Grayling said.

“At a time when the public finances are under such pressure, it is simply outrageous for ministers to employ a poison pill strategy against their opponents.”

But Home Office sources say the £40 million figure is merely the product of breaker clauses in the contracts needed to implement the scheme.

Without these compensation clauses the private contractors who will provide the technology for the plans would require prohibitively high premiums to mitigate against the risk of cancellation, the spokesman said.