» Tuesday, June 30, 2009

ID Cards

Asked if the announcement on ID cards was a retreat by the Government, the PMS replied that he would not accept that characterisation. The Home Secretary had talked about the accelerating the role-out of ID cards. Put that parts of the roll-out would not be compulsory anymore, the PMS said that there was one change in relation to airline workers, which was a very small portion of the total population.

For the overwhelming majority of the population, it was always going to be the case that ID cards would be voluntary. Alan Johnson in his written statement had talked about accelerating the roll-out in other respects by extending form beyond Manchester to the rest of the North West the role out of ID cards next year.

Put that the change announced today by Alan Johnson had saved some money, the PMS said that he did not know what the exact financial implications of it were, but we were talking about a very small proportion of the population that would be affected by this decision today and a much larger number of people who would benefit from the accelerated roll out of ID cards from Manchester to the whole of the North West early next year.

Asked why it would not be compulsory for airline workers to have ID cards now, the PMS replied that Alan Johnson had been giving a lengthy and detailed briefing on this, this afternoon. This was a decision that had to be made by the Home Secretary; he had to take a judgement as to how best to meet our objectives in relation to security at airports and he had reached the view, which the Prime Minister supported, that we could meet our objectives in relation to security with ID cards being on a voluntary basis.

Asked how many people were expected to take up voluntary ID cards, the PMS said that he did not have those figures to hand and people should check with the Home Office. Asked what the ID cards would be used for, the PMS said there would be enormous potential benefits for individuals; young people could use them to prove their identity when they went out in the evening rather than having to carry a passport around, people could use them to travel to European countries instead of using a passport. People could use them to validate their identity in a way that we all had to validate our identities in rather inconvenient ways at the moment.

Asked which group of people would have to have compulsory ID cards first, the PMS said that foreign nationals already had to have them. Asked which group of UK citizens would have to have compulsory ID cards, the PMS said that the only UK citizens that would have to have had compulsory ID cards were airline workers. Put that there was now no one in the UK that had to have a compulsory ID card, the PMS replied that it had always been the position that for the overwhelming majority of the public, it was going to be voluntary anyway.

Should this Government or any other Government want to make ID cards compulsory, it would have to be subject to another vote in the House of Commons, as had always been the case.

original source.

Briefing took place at 16:45 | Search for related news

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