Feeds

ID scheme to bite dust in pre-election terror rush?

So much repression, so little time...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

The Government's difficulties in pushing control orders through Parliament are making it look increasingly unlikely that the ID Cards Bill will make it onto the statute book before the election. If it fails to do so, then any new Labour administration would be forced to start the process again from scratch after the election.

The ID Cards Bill is currently with the House of Lords, which this week is preoccupied with the Prevention of Terrorism Bill. This currently proposes to give the Home Secretary sweeping powers to monitor and restrict the movement and activities of suspected individuals. The Lords will not however approve it in this form, and while conflicting signals seemed to be coming out of the Government over the weekend as to whether or not it was prepared to make "further" concessions (as we've pointed out here before, the concessions so far don't actually concede much), the straight choice is probably between conceding enough to get the Tory Party onside or losing the Bill. The Tories may line up if the Government concedes the point that all control orders should be imposed by judges, rather than simply the 'more serious' ones, and gives in to a "sunset clause" that automatically expires the powers around September.

That seems a likely outcome, but probably only after a couple of days of squaring off, and the Sunday Times yesterday suggested Home Secretary Charles Clarke was also preparing to deploy a statutory instrument which would continue the detention of the Belmarsh inmates until "new arrangements" can be put in place. This might be used once the Government has maximised pre-election grandstanding at the expense of the opposition.

The second reading of the ID Cards Bill is currently programmed for the House of Lords in two weeks time, on Monday 21st March, by which time it will be getting dangerously close to the election period (the real one, that is, not the one we've been in since November). With the election date expected to be 5th May, Parliamentary business would end in early April, and any Bills left hanging at this point will be subject to horse-trading between the Government and the Opposition. Relatively uncontroversial Bills can be rushed through, while others can pass into law provided the Government is prepared to concede some key points.

The ID Cards Bill however falls into neither of these categories. The LibDems are totally opposed to it, and the current Tory position is that while it is prepared to support ID cards in principle, the current scheme will need substantial amendment before it can win Tory Party approval. This barely papers over the Tory Party's internal fissures over ID cards, but as there's no chance of of the Government giving way sufficiently for the Tory support to actually be delivered, this is academic with a May election coming. The pre-election battle over ID cards will therefore also be likely to amount to name-calling about being soft on terrorism, with (short of the Labour Party being hideously maimed at the ballot box) the whole process restarting once the smoke's cleared. ®

Related Stories:

Scottish Parliament lines up against ID scheme
Tory party set to withdraw ID scheme support
Tory group report attacks ID scheme as a con trick
UK gov ready to u-turn on passport-ID card link?

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
White? Male? You work in tech? Let us guess ... Twitter? We KNEW it!
Grim diversity numbers dumped alongside Facebook earnings
HP, Microsoft prove it again: Big Business doesn't create jobs
SMEs get lip service - what they need is dinner at the Club
Bose says today IS F*** With Dre Day: Beats sued in patent battle
Music gear giant seeks some of that sweet, sweet Apple pie
Amazon Reveals One Weird Trick: A Loss On Almost $20bn In Sales
Investors really hate it: Share price plunge as growth SLOWS in key AWS division
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.