Home Secretary admonishes Lords over ID cards

The government has attacked peers for holding up its ID card legislation
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

The government has criticised the House of Lords' repeated blocking of ID card legislation for trying to delay and destroy the bill.

On Tuesday MPs again voted against a Lords compromise amendment to the ID cards bill that would have made it voluntary for people to register for a card and put their biometric details on the national identity database until 2011.

The government won the House of Commons vote by 284 votes to 241 and the ID cards bill will now return to the Lords for a fifth time on Wednesday, making it one of the most difficult pieces of legislation Labour has tried to implement since 1997 — ahead of the fiercely contested hunting bill.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke said the Lords' continued opposition to the ID cards bill is "unacceptable". "The real intent of the amendment is to make the scheme unworkable," he said.

The government wants to avoid having to use the Parliament Act to force through the ID card legislation as it would mean a further delay in the project and Clarke has vowed to force repeated votes on the bill until peers in the Lords give way to MPs.

Opposition in the Lords is based on what ID card critics such as Liberal Democrat peer Lord Phillips of Sudbury call "compulsion by stealth" — whereby people will be forced to get an ID card and register on the national identity database when applying for or renewing a passport.

Editorial standards