Former law lord calls for ID cards to be scrapped

By staff

Former law lord Lord Steyn will call for the government to scrap its proposed ID cards scheme today, in a sign of growing discontent among the judiciary over the controversial plans.

As he prepared to deliver his Farrar’s Building memorial lecture he told journalists: “‘My untutored view is that the debate on ID Cards is on its merits progressively turning against the government.

“In one of his English letters Voltaire said that the civil wars of Rome ended in slavery, and those of the English in liberty. He wrote that the English are jealous of their liberty. So they are.

“The commitment, by and large, of the British people to European constitutional principles and ideals does not require us to adopt an ID card system. In my view a national identity card system is not necessary in our country.

“No further money should be spent on it,” he continued. “The idea should be abandoned.”

Farrar’s Building is one of England and Wales’ leading civil and criminal law sets.

The new home secretary Alan Johnson is understood to be lukewarm about the scheme and is currently implementing a review of the plans, starting from ‘first principles’.

“In my very first interview as home secretary I made clear that identity cards was a manifesto commitment and that legislation governing their introduction was passed in 2006,” he said.

“We remain on progress to bring in what we believe has widespread public support.”