Peers reject ID-card database plans as attack on freedom

The House of Lords overturned proposals to place everyone who applies for a new passport or driving licence on the database that will underpin the controversial scheme.

In a second reverse for ministers, they demanded a complete set of fresh legislation before ID cards could become compulsory at any future date.

Following three defeats for the Government last week, the Home Office faces taking on the Lords over five crucial elements of the ID Cards Bill. Labour's majority on the Bill shrunk to 25 in October and, with backbenchers in an increasingly fractious mood, Government whips could face an uphill struggle to win a new Commons majority for Tony Blair's flagship bill.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal, the Home Office minister, had to listen to a succession of peers denounce plans to include all holders of biometric passports on the planned ID cards register. Not one peer spoke in favour of the plans. Ministers have always insisted the scheme was voluntary, but critics say it amounts to "compulsion by the back door".

Viscount Bledisloe, a crossbencher, said: "One would be debarred from the freedom to travel around the world unless one 'chose' to go on some other government register."

Lord Stoddart of Swindon, a crossbencher, claimed ID cards were among several Government policies that were undermining freedoms built up over many centuries.

He said: "Some of these measures have the elements of a fascist state - and this country is preaching to many countries about democracy."

Lord Selsdon, a Tory peer, protested that the proposed scheme had echoes of totalitarian regimes. He said: "It's strange we should be swinging so far backwards... Most of the new members of the European Union are longing for the days when they don't have to carry their papers day and night."

Lady Scotland said the claim that the Government was contemplating a fascist state was contradicted by the vigorous debate taking place on the policy. She argued Labour had made clear its intention to move towards a compulsory scheme in last year's election-winning manifesto.

She said: "We have always been clear that the identity cards scheme is being designed and is intended eventually to become a compulsory scheme for all UK residents and in this second phase of the scheme it will be a requirement to register with a civil penalty regime for failure to do so."

However, peers voted by 186 to 142 - a majority of 44 - during the Bill's report stage to enable people to get biometric passports without going on the database.

An hour later, the Government was defeated again when an amendment requiring a separate Act of Parliament before ID cards could become compulsory was passed by 198 to 140.

Last week, peers voted to require ministers to set out detailed costs of ID cards.

This meant the measure would not come into effect until the Home Secretary, Charles Clarke, has laid a report for approval by MPs, with a detailed account of the costs, and a statement of expected benefits.

This was followed later by two further defeats when peers voted to demand a secure and reliable method of recording and storing citizens' personal data, and curb use of the register for provision of public services.

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
News
Plans to decriminalise non-payment of television licence fees would cost the BBC £500m according to estimates drawn up within the Corporation
people
News
people
Life & Style
The new low cost smartphone of Motorola, 'Motorola Moto G', is displayed in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 13, 2013. The smartphone, with dimensions 65.9mm W x 129.9mm H x 6.0 - 11.6mm D is equipped with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 with quad-core 1,2 GHz CPU, a 4.5-inch display and Android Operating System 4.3 and a suggested price of $ 179 USD.
techData assessing smartphones has revealed tens of millions of phones are at risk of being harvested
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Pare as Megan Draper and Jon Hamm as the troubled, melancholy Don Draper
tvAnd six other questions we hope Mad Men series seven will answer
Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.
film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Online Advertising Account Executive , St Pauls , London

£26K-30k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Advertising Account Executive - Online, Central London

£25K-28k + Bonus, Private Medical Insurance, Company Pension: Charter Selectio...

Senior Infrastructure Consultant

£50000 - £65000 Per Annum potentially flexible for the right candidate: Clearw...

Public Sector Audit - Bristol

£38000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have experience of ...

Day In a Page

Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal
Supersize art

Is big better? Britain's latest super-sized art

The Kelpies are the latest addition to a growing army of giant sculptures. But naysayers are asking what a pair of gigantic horse heads tells us about Falkirk?
James Dean: Back on the big screen

James Dean: Back on the big screen

As 'Rebel without a Cause' is re-released, Geoffrey Macnab reveals how its star perfected his moody act
Catch-22: How the cult classic was adapted for the stage

How a cult classic was adapted for the stage

More than half a century after it was published 'Catch-22' will make its British stage debut next week
10 best activity books for children

10 best activity books for children

Keep little ones busy this bank holiday with one of these creative, educational and fun books
Arsenal 3 West Ham United 1: Five things we learnt from the battle between the London sides

Five things we learnt from Arsenal's win over West Ham

Arsenal still in driving seat for Champions League spot and Carroll can make late charge into England’s World Cup squad
Copa del Rey final: Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right

Pete Jenson on the Copa del Rey final

Barcelona are paying for their complacency and not even victory over Real Madrid will put things right
Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

Rafa to reign? Ten issues clay courts will serve up this season

With the tennis circus now rolling on to the slowest surface, Paul Newman highlights who'll be making the headlines – and why
Exclusive: NHS faces financial disaster in 2015 as politicians urged to find radical solution

NHS faces financial disaster in 2015

Politicians urged to find radical solution
Ukraine crisis: How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?

Ukraine crisis

How spontaneous are the pro-Russian protests breaking out in Ukraine’s east?
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

The first execution at the Tower of London for 167 years

A history of the First World War in 100 moments
Fires could turn Amazon rainforest into a desert as human activity and climate change threaten ‘lungs of the world’, says study

New threat to the Amazon rainforest:

Fires that scorch the ‘lungs of the Earth’
Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester City: And the winner of this season’s Premier League title will be...

Who’s in box seat now? The winner of the title will be ...

Who is in best shape to take the Premier League prize?