» Thursday, November 17, 2005

ID cards

Asked for a reaction to Stella Rimmington’s comments about ID cards, the PMOS said that Ms Rimmington had been a private individual for quite some time and, as such, was perfectly entitled to her view. He drew journalists’ attention to a document on ID cards published by the Home Office in June 2005 entitled "Benefits Overview" which stated, "The security services have identified a number of benefits, which will enhance the protection of the UK against threats to national security. In outline these are: enhanced support to organised crime and terrorist investigations; tracking of serious crime and strengthening border security; improved enforcement of money laundering regulations".

The PMOS also pointed out that, following the Madrid bombings, Spanish police had stated explicitly that they had identified nearly all of the terrorists involved and that this had been made significantly easier by their identity cards scheme. There was therefore a clear international comparison which showed that ID cards had helped.

Put to him that the Government had been shifting away from the security argument and had been focussing more on the point that ID cards would help to protect against identity and benefits fraud, the PMOS pointed out that it was the media who had stated that the Government was trying to downplay the counter-terrorism argument. The reality of the situation, however, was that we were continuing to place great weight on the counter-terrorism argument, in addition to pointing to other advantages of an ID card system.

Put to him that Tony McNulty had said, "in terms", that too much reliance had been placed on the security argument, the PMOS said that we had always been clear that ID cards were not, of themselves, the one thing which would prevent a terrorist attack. However, we believed that they could be a great help in countering terrorism, as the investigations following the Madrid bombings had shown. Put to him that the Home Secretary had said after the London bombings that ID cards would not have prevented the attack, the PMOS repeated that we had never pretended that ID cards would, of themselves, prevent terrorism. However, we believed that they would be a significant help to the police in countering the terrorism threat.

Asked how much ID cards would cost, the PMOS said that the figure of £300, which had been widely reported, had come from the LSE report. We had no evidence to suggest that it would cost that much. £30 was the ‘standalone figure’ for the ID element of the card. £93 was the unit cost for an ID card including passport. Put to him that that the House of Lords had been told yesterday that the Government would not provide a costing because it was commercially sensitive, the PMOS said that that position remained unchanged. The figures he had quoted were based on an average unit cost.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Search for related news


  1. Hands up anyone who believes Ms Rimmington would be more than a "private individual" (who happens by accident to be in the House of Lords) if she had bleated in favour of ID Cards.

    Comment by Julian Todd — 21 Nov 2005 on 11:21 pm | Link
  2. "The figures he had quoted were based on an average unit cost."

    Come on, what the eff is that supposed to mean?! How much are they going to ask us to shell out, it’s that simple. Is it \xA393? Is it \xA3300? It’s all very well for them to bebunk someone else’s ideas but they have to put up their own; I doubt the usual "my name’s Tony so you can all get stuffed" is going to wash this time round.

    Mind, does it matter what they tell us? I mean, does ANYONE believe a word Saint Tony squeaks any more?

    Comment by PapaLazzzaru — 22 Nov 2005 on 2:51 am | Link
  3. No

    Comment by Will Hall — 22 Nov 2005 on 2:08 pm | Link

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