The House of Lords is preparing itself for the next round of Parliamentary ping pong over the controversial Identity Cards Bill 2005
22 Mar 2006 : Column 137
Identity Cards Bill
The Bill was returned from the Commons with certain Commons amendments to which the Lords have disagreed not insisted on and with the Lords amendments disagreed to; the Commons reasons were ordered to be printed.
There is now an Amendment by Lord Armstrong of Ilminster, who sits on the Cross Benches. He is the former "Sir Humphrey Appleby" Cabinet Secretary and former head of the Civil Service, who coined the phrase "economical with the truth" during the Peter Wright "Spycatcher" book publication affair. This book contained allegations about the illegal activities of "rogue" MI5 agents and plots against the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson, the publication of which , the then Conservative government tried to supress.
His amendment would create an individual "Opt Out" from Compulsion to be Registered on the centralised biometric database, via an application for a Designated Document, i.e. a Passport.
This is better from a civil liberties point of view. than the previously rejected Lords' amendment, which conceded the principle about compulsion, albeit after a delay until after the next General Election. Lord Armstrong's Amendment if passed, would be a permanent Opt Out, without any time limit during the so called "voluntary phase" of the scheme.
Presumably the Government will oppose this amendment, sometime next week after the Budget debates.
UPDATE: It seems that this coming Tuesday 28th March 2006 is the date set for
Identity Cards Bill—Consideration of Commons Reasons [The Baroness Scotland of Asthal]
The Lords' Amendments:
A The Baroness Scotland of Asthal to move, That this House do not insist on its Amendments 22G and 22H in lieu to which the Commons have disagreed for their Reasons 22GA and 22I.
The Lord Armstrong of Ilminster to move, as an amendment to Motion A, at end insert “but do propose Amendments 22J and 22K in lieu”.
Page 4, line 44, leave out from “individual” to end of line 4 on page 5 and insert—
“(a) if the individual is not already entered in the Register, his application for a designated document must include or be accompanied by an application by that individual to be entered in
the Register unless he has stated in or with his application for a designated document that he does not wish to apply to be entered
in the Register;
(b) if the individual is already entered in the Register, his application
for a designated document must either state that he is already entered in the Register and confirm the contents of his entry or state that he is entered in the Register and confirm the contents of his entry subject to the changes notified in the application.”
Page 8, line 2, after “document” insert “in which he has not included or which is not accompanied by a statement in accordance with section 5(2) that he does not wish not to be entered in the Register”
HL Bill 92(a)