Blair to miss crucial ID cards vote

Plane trouble in South Africa delays PM's return to UK
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

Plane trouble in South Africa delays PM's return to UK

Prime Minister Tony Blair is to miss the crucial ID cards vote in the House of Commons today after being delayed in South Africa.

Blair had been due back from a summit in Pretoria this morning but will not now land back in the UK until Tuesday after problems were discovered with the engines on his plane.

The government has been trying to broker a compromise deal with rebel Labour MPs in an attempt to overturn amendments made to the Identity Cards Bill by peers in the House of Lords but the outcome of the vote is still too close to call.

The House of Lords defeated the government on key amendments last month that would make it voluntary for citizens to register their biometric details and force the government to put its cost estimates under independent scrutiny by the National Audit Office before any contracts are awarded.

But the government has said it will not make the cost calculations public and it will not back down over making it compulsory for people to register their biometrics when applying for a passport.

The government's slim majority was halved at the last House of Commons reading and is likely to be tested again in Monday's vote.

Stay tuned to silicon.com's ID cards coverage for all the latest developments.

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