Battle for ID cards hits the Commons

By Ian Dunt

ID cards have finally reached the Commons again, with a Conservative opposition day debate on the scheme due for debate this afternoon.

The opposition is calling for the plan to be scrapped altogether.

This has been given additional momentum by Alan Johnson’s decision to make the scheme entirely voluntary for its duration.

But the Liberal Democrats have urged civil libertarians to treat the Tory commitment to scrapping the scheme cautiously, citing their muted response to The National Identity Register.

Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: “It’s always been hard to take the Tories seriously on ID cards since they originally backed them when they were introduced by the government.

“It is time for the Conservatives to come clean. It’s easy to suggest scrapping unnecessary pieces of plastic but where do they stand on the National Identity Register?

“The Liberal Democrats’ principled defence of civil liberties includes opposing the sinister central database. This is a clear challenge to the Tories to put their cards on the table.”

Opponents of the cards remain unconvinced by Mr Johnson’s claim the cards will never be mandatory, citing the ease with which a future government could call for voluntary scheme to be made legally enforceable.