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No2ID catches up with Home Office roadshow

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Those pesky activists at No2ID have been at it again: showing up at the government's biometrics charm-offensive road shows and asking difficult questions. This protest was caught on camera by the BBC, and subsequently aired on the local news.

Dave Gould, No2ID's Bristol coordinator, grilled the Home Office minister, Andy Burnham, on the costs and benefits of the scheme, in an interview the BBC described as "Paxman-ing" the minister.

Initially, the minister was reluctant to speak on camera to Gould, who says that a Home Office official had obstructed the BBC camera's lens.

A Home Office spokesman said that he couldn't comment directly on these allegations as he had not seen the news segment, but he understood an interview had been facilitated by Home Office press office staff.

No2ID has argued that the government is conducting its charm-tour in secret, refusing to reveal the locations of the roadshows stop until the day itself. Some supporters are also angry that the choice of venue has so far always put the Home Office on private property, meaning unwanted visitors can be kept out.

Last week anti-ID card protesters were ejected from a shopping centre in Gateshead before Home Office Minister Andy Burnham even arrived, having fallen foul of a bylaw prohibiting the unauthorised distribution of leaflets in the centre.

The Home Office spokesman that it is standard practice in the case of ministerial visits not to announce too many details in advance. He added that the local media was always alerted when the roadshows came to town.

"We hope that as many people as possible will visit the stand and talk to us about the changes to passports that will be happening over the next few years," he added, reading from a statement.

You can read more on the No2ID forum here. ®

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