VOTE NO TO ID CARDS – Trade unions and Liberty urge MPs

The railway tunnel collapsed as a result of the new Tesco superstore being built in the area near Ge
The railway tunnel collapsed as a result of the new Tesco superstore being built in the area near Ge

Yesterday claims were made that the government was in discussions with businesses on the sale of personal information that will be contained in the proposed ID cards.

Ahead of tomorrow’s debate in the House of Commons, it was claimed that businesses were being offered access to personal details for sums of £750.

Chair of the Campaign Group of Labour MPs said many MPs were opposed to ID cards on a principled and practical level, and that the scheme was ‘unworkable like the Poll Tax and massively expensive like the Dome’.

Human rights group Liberty yesterday urged Labour MPs to vote against ID cards in tomorrow’s debate.

Liberty Director General Sami Chakrabati claimed the Tories and Liberal Democrats will vote against the ID cards Bill, adding: ‘I know it’s difficult for an MP to vote against the whips and to vote against their party, but I’ve spoken to Labour MPs, some who have been around for a long time in politics, and some who are newly elected.

‘And there are a large number with serious concerns about this proposal, particularly for race relations and of course cost.

‘I hope that as the trade union leaders have come out this weekend and as other voices in civil society are coming out against, that these MPs will feel brave and they will do the right thing, because they will have to think about their credibility, their reputations for many years to come.’

Chakrabati warned against ‘this great big dangerous and expensive white elephant’.

She said the ID card would be a ‘licence to exist’ and would ‘bring sus laws back by the back door’, and be a ‘means to marginalisation whether it’s in the health service or other ways of life’.

Public sector union UNISON is meeting with its 100 affiliated Labour MPs to urge them to reject ID cards in tomorrow’s debate.

UNISON’s National Delegate Conference last Friday voted overwhelmingly to ‘call upon the government to cease all further development of and legislation for ID cards’.

Motion 75 added: ‘We believe the proposal consists of an attack on individual rights and freedoms.

‘We believe it will lead to institutional discrimination and to unfair denial of benefits and services.

‘We believe the proposal will lead to an increase in state control and surveillance over the individual and that they will create an unacceptable imposition on every citizen.

‘We call on the government to fully abandon the proposal.’

A UNISON spokeswoman told News Line yesterday: ‘ID cards are not a way of stopping terrorism as the government claims. They are an intrusion on civil liberties.’

A TGWU spokesperson told News Line: ‘We oppose ID cards over concerns for civil liberties and concerns our black members have about the effect ID cards could have on race relations.’

Commenting on the government’s reported discussions with businesses on the purchase of information, the TGWU spokesperson added to News Line: ‘Once you’ve got the ID database, ourselves and civil liberties groups are concerned about how the information may be used.’

The Home Office issued a statement yesterday denying the sale of information was being considered.

It said: ‘The National Identity Register will not be an open access database. People will not be able to buy information from it. Unauthorised disclosure will be a criminal offence.’