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ID cards halve Labour majority

Blair's Poll Tax wins few friends

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The UK's Labour government saw its majority cut from 67 to 31 last night in a vote on the controversial ID Card bill.

Twenty Labour MPs crossed the floor to vote with the Tories and Liberal Democrats against the bill's second reading but it was still passed on a vote of 314 to 283.

Home Secretary Charles Clarke dismissed yesterday's critcism from the London School of Economics as "technically incompetent" and promised to cap the cost of the card to individual citizens.

The legislation is likely to have a hard time getting through the committee stage unscathed. John Denham, who chaired the Home Affairs Select Committee in the last session told the BBC: "I think the government is going to have to make a number of changes to its approach to the bill to be sure of getting it through."

Liberal Democrat spokesman Mark Oaten said the bill would haunt Blair like the Poll Tax haunted Thatcher.

More details on the Beeb here.®

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