Draft ID card bill slips into Queen's speech

Keeping options open

A draft bill to introduce ID cards in the UK is expected to be included in the Queen's speech later this month.

Although the move keeps the government's options open, the Sunday Times reports that it is increasingly unlikely that ID cards will be brought in before the next general election.

Instead, the paper sees the scheme as a means to preserve the political modesty of the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, who is fighting to keep a cherished project alive in the face of opposition from his Cabinet colleagues.

Senior members of the Cabinet are said to be split on the issue.

Former Home Secretary Jack Straw, the current Foreign Secretary, believes ID card plans are “flawed” and might cause “a large-scale debacle which harms the government”. Chancellor Gordon Brown and the Treasury object to the scheme on economic grounds.

However, the Prime Minister backs the idea of introducing ID cards, at least in principle.

The rest of the Queen’s speech, expected to contain 23 bills, will include plans to make corporate socially and environmentally responsible, tougher rules on asylum and a scheme to levy university students with extra tuition fees. ®

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