[noborders-brum] 'Sneak' plan for mandatory ID cards

John O ncadc at ncadc.org.uk
Sun Nov 16 05:50:41 UTC 2008

Are we having a demo on the 25th or no!!!

'Sneak' plan for mandatory ID cards

David Leppard, The Sunday Times, November 16, 2008

Ministers have been accused of trying to introduce compulsory 
identity cards through the back door, despite promises that people 
will not have to carry them.

Lawyers at Liberty, the civil liberties group, say that little 
noticed clauses in the draft immigration and citizenship bill 
introduce new powers to make people produce identity documents or 
face arrest. The bill is expected to be in the Queen's speech next 

At issue is a clause in the bill which says that anyone who is to be 
examined by an immigration officer "must produce a valid identity 
document if required to do so". Failure to produce an identity card 
or otherwise prove identity will become a criminal offence. At 
present, producing a passport counts as proof of identity.

It had been thought the clauses applied only to people entering the 
UK at ports.

But Liberty says a separate clause in the bill extends powers of 
examination to new categories of people. They include anyone in the 
UK - whether a British citizen or not - who has ever left the country.

Isabella Sankey, Liberty's policy officer, said: "Immigration law is 
being used as a cloak to introduce measures that would effectively 
compel us all to carry ID cards. Under these paranoid proposals if 
you have ever set foot outside the UK you could be required, at any 
time, to prove your identity and nationality."

The Home Office disputed Liberty's reading of the bill. A spokesman 
said: "The bill does not contain legislation that will require UK 
citizens to be issued with compulsory ID cards. It clearly states 
that valid identity documents must be produced on request to maintain 
effective immigration control."

Launch of the ID cards scheme begins next week when marriage visa 
holders and non-European Union students will be the first recipients.

Airside workers at some airports will then be issued with cards - a 
move opposed by pilots' unions and related groups.

The cards were proposed after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America. 
Opponents say they are expensive, unnecessary and infringe on human 

Cards will carry a picture and security chip containing biometric data.
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