Government abandons ID card bill

Charles Clarke has vowed to reintroduce the bill after the election if Labour win and has accused its opponents of being weak on crime
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

The UK government has slammed opposition to the biometric ID card bill after admitting it will be forced to shelve the plans after running out of legislative time in the run up to next month's expected general election.

But Home Secretary Charles Clarke has vowed to re-introduce the ID card bill after the election if Labour wins a third term and, in an interview with The Observer at the weekend, he branded Conservative and Liberal Democrat opposition as "crazy".

Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to announce the date of the general election tomorrow. That will signal the start of the frantic 'wash up' period when the government and opposition political parties thrash out an agreement on which bills will be passed or ditched before Parliament is dissolved at the end of the week.

With the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats signalling they will not budge in their opposition to the ID card bill, the government will instead prioritise its limited legislative time before the election on other bills.

Along with pledging to re-introduce the ID card bill after the election, Clarke warned the other parties that Labour will use their opposition as a sign of weakness on crime during the election campaign.

"It will then become an election issue — which it doesn't have to be. If it is, it will be because the Tories and Liberal Democrats have decided to make it an election issue," Clarke told the paper.

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