Incredibly, both Houses of Parliament have voted for an amendment which means that you will still have to pay £30 and have your biometric details recorded on the centralised National Identity Register, even if you do not choose to be issued with an actual ID Card when you apply for a Passport (and pay the separate Passport fee).
This phony "compromise opt out" from having to get an ID card with a passport only applies until 1st January 2010 i.e. probably before the next General Election in May 2010.
It does not apply to anything except Passports, so foreigners applying for residence permits will be caught much earlier.
If the Government decides to sneakily Designate other documents like Driving Licences or Criminal Records Bureau checks (despite currently claiming to have no plans to do so), they will also not be exempt.
The politicians appear to be spinning the line that if you do not have a physical ID Card, but you are registered on the NIR, that you will not be generating the tracking audit trail transactions.
This is, of course, hopelessly wrong, since any use of the National Identity Register Number or any "one to many" Biometric Verifdications against the central database (targether than the technologically easier "one to one" verifications of your Biometric Identifiers against what is stored on the ID SmartCard) will hopefully be recorded on the audit trail logfiles.
It seems unlikely that, for example, the e-borders programme, which is similar in concept to the US VISIT system, will eschew the chance to check your fingerprints or iris scans or facial biometrics against the central National Identity Register, even if you have an old style Passport or a new one but no ID Card per se.
The police and intelligence agencies, and the vast number of other Government departments will still be able to access the data on the NIR, even if you have not been issued with an ID Card, or if you never use it in a Biometric Reader device.
The only advantage to not having an ID Card if you apply for a Passport, between now and 2010, is that the provisions in the Bill which relate to notification of change of name or address details or changes to other data on the Register, only apply to people to whom an ID card has been issued (voluntarily or by compulsion) .
Commons Today version of Hansard (which will be has been replaced by the full version of Hansard at 8.30am) has the list of MPs who voted in this final vote on the Identity Cards Bill 2005:
Ayes: 301 Noes: 84
UPDATE: The Public Whip site now has the full breakdown of the vote. Neither Tony Blair (why exactly is he away on some foreign trip funded by the taxpayer ?), nor Gordon Brown bothered to attend, and neither did the disgraced David Blunkett, who started all this malarky back in January 2002.
Most Conservatives abstained, but 24 of them including their Home Affairs front bench spokesmen David Davis, Edward Garnier and Patrick Mercer voted with the Labour Government. Only 8 Conservatives voted against the motion with the Liberal Democrats. David Cameron was absent..
It seems that David Cameron's NuTories cannot be trusted on civil liberties issues any more than Michael Howard's Tories could be.
Why are they collaborating with NuLabour ?
What does this mean for other vital votes such as the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill ?
The list of MPs who voted: