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20 March 2006

Barrett grills Minister over ‘fatally flawed’ ID cards proposals

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today grilled a Government Minister over ‘fatally flawed’ ID cards proposals during oral questions to the Home Office in the House of Commons this afternoon.

Mr Barrett quizzed the minister over the cost of the scheme and called for the money to be spent on improved policing and intelligence services. The ID cards Bill will today return to the House of Lords where the government is widely expected to suffer further defeats.

Speaking following the debate, John Barrett said:

“ID cards are not the silver bullet against fraudsters, terrorists, and illegal immigrants as the Government claims. The scheme is fatally flawed and will unduly restrict civil liberties, while the ever increasing cost could be far better spent elsewhere.

“More and more of my constituents are telling me they would rather see more police on their streets than another piece of plastic in their pocket.

“The estimated cost of the scheme is varying upwards from £300 million for Scotland alone. If the Government really wants to cut crime, tackle terrorism and reduce illegal immigration, this kind of money would be far better spent on more police, new intelligence officers and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.”


Notes

· John Barrett was speaking during Oral Questions to the Secretary of State for the Home Department this afternoon. Full details will be available from:
http://www.parliament.uk/hansard/hansard.cfm

· A recent study by the London School of Economics found that the cost of the ID cards scheme could be as much as £14.5bn.

· The Home Office estimates that each combined biometric passport and identity card will cost £93.

· Members of the public can have their say on this issue on Mr Barrett’s website at: http://www.johnbarrettmp.com/views.php

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.