Treasury study shows Brown's ID card doubts

Despite the terrorist attacks in London, doubts are growing inside the Government about the cost and practicalities of the controversial proposal which is now being pushed through Parliament.

The Chancellor will resist any attempt by supporters of ID cards to use the London attacks as an excuse to speed up their introduction. Significantly, Charles Clarke, the Home Secretary, admitted yesterday that cards would not have prevented Thursday's bombings.

The Home Secretary said: "I doubt they would have made a difference. I don't argue that ID cards would prevent any particular act. The question on ID cards or any other security measure is: does the particular measure help or hinder? I actually think ID cards would help rather than hinder.

"But if you ask me would ID cards or indeed any other measure have stopped yesterday, I can't identify any measure that would have stopped it like that."

Last month, the Home Office rubbished a London School of Economics study which said the scheme was "technically precarious" and put the cost at between £10.6bn and £19.2bn, which could almost double the Government's £93 estimate of the cost of a card.

Mr Brown does not oppose ID cards in principle but is said to be worried that the technology might not be proven and that the costs could rocket. Treasury officials will now take a close look at the figures in the light of the 300-page LSE report.

Allies say Mr Brown, the overwhelming front-runner to succeed Mr Blair, would want to make some symbolic breaks with the Blair era if he becomes Prime Minister. They believe that scrapping ID cards is likely to be one of them.

Charlie Whelan, Mr Brown's former press secretary, said the ID card scheme would get an "early bath" if Mr Blair stood down soon. Writing in the New Statesman magazine, he asked: "Does anyone seriously believe that Brown will back this bonkers idea?"

Mr Blair supports the project, which was approved by the Cabinet when David Blunkett, its leading advocate, was Home Secretary. But some Blairites are having doubts. One said: "I am not convinced the technology will work. We can't afford another computer fiasco."

The Prime Minister and Chancellor will watch public opinion closely in the wake of Thursday's bombings. Recent polls have suggested that support for ID cards is slipping amid fears about how much they would cost.

Originally, ministers cited terrorism as the primary reason for backing the scheme but they have recently argued that ID cards would also combat identity fraud and ensure that British passports can be used in countries such as the United States.

Last month, Mr Blair said he did not come into politics to bring in ID cards and hinted that he would abandon the scheme if the practical difficulties became too great.

One option would be to press ahead with the legislation to avoid a humiliating climbdown but not to implement it on the grounds that there were too many unresolved problems - a course that might appeal to Mr Brown.

David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, said the London bombings had not changed the Tories' opposition to ID cards. He said: "The Home Secretary admitted himself that ID cards would not have prevented this and may not even have helped in the investigation afterwards so it doesn't change the argument." He added: "An important part of our way of life is maintenance of our civil freedoms."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living