A 'compromise' (in nothing but name) was found last night with regards to the ID cards bill before the Lords. The snagging point has been the issue of whether or not the card should be made compulsory
. Conservative and Lib Dem peers had rejected the bill on these terms on five previous occasions but the Tories submitted last night having found consensus with Labour peers that the passport linked ID cards wouldn't be 'compulsory' until 2010 rather than 2008. The bill, backed by 287 votes to 60 means that anyone who renews a passport will be put on a national ID database - but will not now be forced to have an ID card until 2010. Quite why the Conservatives have had such a change of heart bemuses me, once again they appear to have opened themselves up to the 'flip-flopping' criticisms and furthermore have more or less ensured that we will end up with ID cards being implemented, despite their stance against them in the commons. The NO2ID
group's problem has (rightly) always been with the database rather than the cards themselves and this element of the bill remained unaltered by the 'compromise'.
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis has pledged that the Conservatives will make ID cards an issue at the general election, by this time though, some people will already have the cards and the systems will already be coming in to practice. The stance should be taken now not at the election, if the Tories are going to oppose them, they should have done so this week. It makes you wonder whether the idea is to take up the opposition stance in the run up to the election and fight it on this subject. Although after Hague's 2001 election campaign bombed after focusing so intently on the Euro, you just wonder if a 'once bitten...' mentality may kick in.
Home Office minister Andy Burnham enthusiastically states how "people will be able to use ID cards as passports within the EU". I think most people are quite happy using their passport
as a passport within the EU actually Andy, now go and do some real work.