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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 May, 2005, 15:09 GMT 16:09 UK
Hain confident over ID card plans
Peter Hain
Peter Hain says Labour's reduced majority could be "healthy"
Plans to bring in identity cards may be changed in order to get Parliament's support, Peter Hain said.

The Northern Ireland secretary told the BBC he was "confident" the government could get support for the plans.

He said public opinion "overwhelmingly" supported the principle "even if we can maybe look at some of the detail if that's necessary."

Meanwhile, Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said the government would push ahead with its plans for ID cards.

'Verifiable identity'

Mr Hain told BBC One's Breakfast with Frost: "I am confident we can build consent around this elementary principle that we all need a verifiable identity in our society today that cannot be stolen."
ID card
ID cards would bear fingerprints and personal details

He continued: "The Liberal Democrats and the Tories blocked that measure from going through at the end of the last session. It remains to be seen whether they go with the flow of public opinion".

Mr Hain said that Labour's reduced majority, cut from 161 to 67 in the election, could prove "healthy" for the government.

'Fight harder'

"We will have to fight harder to win our arguments. We won't be able to take anything for granted," he said.

He said the government would need to "build consent earlier in the process" for controversial bills such as foundation hospitals and student fees.

Mr Hain also backed Tony Blair's insistence that he would serve a full third term.

"The picture is pretty clear. The prime minister has said he'd serve a full term and Gordon Brown is way out in front of any possible successor," he said.

Also on Sunday, Mrs Hewitt told ITV's Jonathan Dimbleby Programme that Labour remained committed to its ID card plans.

"We were elected on a manifesto. It includes identity cards and yes we will go ahead with that," she said.

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