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Last Updated: Sunday, 4 November 2007, 14:59 GMT
Lord West: ID cards will happen
Lord West
National identity cards will play an important part, a very important part in countering terrorism
Lord West

Lord West - the former Admiral brought in to head up security policy - flatly denied there was any U-turn on ID cards, after a story in the Sunday Mirror said the government was about to abandon the scheme.

Jon Sopel asked Lord West about reports that the government may be going cold on the introduction of identity cards for everyone.

He replied: "I'm not aware of that at all. What I particularly like in my counter-terrorist role is the fact that we're going for two biometrics, for passports for people coming in to this country and our passport holders.

"That will help without a doubt, in being able to pin down the terrorist movement and who terrorists are," he continued.

"He added: "National identity cards will play an important part, a very important part in countering terrorism, there's no doubt about that.

"One can think of all sorts of reasons one might not like them, but actually, in terms of counter-terrorism, they will be extremely useful," he insisted.

Ninety day mess

He also said that the Blair government had made a mess of 90 day detention for terrorist suspects.

He said: "Now clearly, that is a very difficult issue and what we're looking at very closely and in consultation is, how can we take this forward?

"We're trying to talk with everyone, because it isn't an easy thing. It's something we don't like doing.

"Let - what safeguards can we put in, how can we do it, and I'm not quite sure how we're going to go about this because the 90 days, I have no doubt whatsoever, was far too long.

"I think when it was tried¿ it was done in the most appalling way.

"We need to make sure we don't make that sort of mistake again."

Maybe 50 days?

Lord West added that he thought a period of around 50 days is being discussed when he said: "I think around 50 days are the sort of figures people have been talking about.

"Exactly how we get to that I'm not sure. And I think we have to show absolutely that we really do need this, and we have to show absolutely we have real safeguards in place."

Lord West then went on to explain where he thought the terrorist threat really lay.

"Where we can make most improvements is crowded places and without, one doesn't want to, you know, frighten and terrify the British public, because we mustn't do these terrorists jobs for them. You know, we need to live our life as we normally live it."

Harman: Hastilow to go?

Harriet Harman
They'll probably give the chop to this Tory candidate
Harriet Harman

On the same programme, the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, Harriet Harman, said that she thought the Conservative candidate Nigel Hastilow, quoted in the Sunday newspapers saying Enoch Powell "was right", would have to go.

She said "I think what they're going to do probably, later on to-day, is they'll probably give the chop to this Tory candidate in an effort to try and pretend that the Tory Party has changed, when I think it's the same old nasty party.

"Of course we have to have good migration controls.

"Of course we've got to have plans for migration, so that we have people here who we need to be here.

"Of course we've got to get British people off the dole and we've got to have more skills and education in the British economy.

"But we must recognize that our economy depends, when we've got a growing number of older people, and a fall in the working age population, we need to be able to bring in to our economy, those people to help us make the economy grow."

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