ID cards campaigners aren't giving up

ID cards campaigners aren't giving up

Summary: As the government agrees new concessions to get its national identity card bill through parliament, the No2ID team calls for more lobbying efforts

TOPICS: Government UK

Campaigners against the introduction of a UK biometric national identity card scheme have vowed to keep up the struggle, even if parliament passes the government's IT card bill next week.

Phil Booth, national co-ordinator for the No2ID campaign, urged people who opposed the government's plans to keep lobbying MPs. The third and final reading on the ID card bill will take place on Monday, 13 February.

"We're three votes wide at the moment, but it's very, very close," said Booth, who warned that some potential rebels could be influenced by a government climb-down over its education bill. "In the last vote, the government only had a majority of 31, and that was with 16 Tory MPs not voting….the best thing you can do now is write to your MP."

If the ID card bill does pass into law, the first cards should be issued in 2008.

"That would be a different phase of the campaign," said Booth, implying that opposition to ID cards could continue for years. Booth was speaking at an event in London organised by the Open Rights Group.

Booth's comments were made before it emerged that the government is prepared to make concessions to achieve a win on Monday. According to reports on Friday morning, the prime minister has agreed that a completely new bill would need to be passed before everyone would be compelled to register for an ID card.

Until now, the government had proposed that while ID cards would initially be voluntary, it would have only taken a single vote in parliament to make them compulsory.

This may allay the fears of some MPs, making a government win on Monday more likely. But it may also strengthen the resolve of those who believe that ID cards are dangerous, a waste of money and will increase the risk of ID fraud.

Richard Allan, a former Liberal Democrat MP, said that writing to an MP could change their mind and encourage them to take action.

"I saw this happen with software patents," said Allan. "At first, MPs ignored letters about it, but then their attitude became 'I will answer these people's concerns, even though I hate them.' Then it became 'Oh no, these letters are still coming, so I'd better do something about it.'"

Topic: Government UK

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  • Everyone I have spoken to about this who is in favour of ID cards is largely ignorant of the issues - those that do understand it fully are usually against. Do yourself a favour and read up on it now, protesting you didn't know enough about it to protest will not be an excuse after it is made law! Go to and read up on the issue, you owe it to yourself.
  • Yet more taxes to pay for more New Labour initiatives. Everything this government does ends up with the working people (and I mean the wealth producers, not public employees and the like) paying even more taxes.
    It wouldn't be so bad if there was an outright band on any additional public service recruitment and a planned reduction of desk staff and the jobsworth jobs.
    And if added to that was a "no increase in any taxation or charges" with all new expenditure to be found by corresponding savings then perhaps it would present a more amenable prospect.
    If the ID cards were to be introduced within existing staffing and budgetary levels and without any additional cost to the taxpayer or recipient, then there would be little or no grounds for blanket objection.