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Last Updated: Sunday, 3 April, 2005, 14:31 GMT 15:31 UK
Clarke fears for crime proposals
ID card
Charles Clarke described opposition to ID card plans as 'crazy'
The home secretary has said he fears the government will be forced to drop controversial crime plans as it gears up for the election.

Charles Clarke told the Observer he would blame the opposition if plans for ID cards and to outlaw incitement to religious hatred had to be shelved.

Tories say ministers have themselves to blame - as they decide the poll date.

The main parties said they were suspending public campaigning on Sunday as mourning began for the Pope.

Tony Blair is also delaying calling the election for 24 hours - confirmation of a 5 May poll had been expected on Monday.

Once the election is called, there will be a rush to get the remaining major pieces of legislation through Parliament in its last week.

Mr Clarke's bills are among those which could be left vulnerable.

He denounced opposition to ID card plans as "crazy" and vowed to reintroduce them if Labour were re-elected.

Celebrity letter

A provision in the Serious Organised Crime and Policing Bill is aimed at making incitement to religious hatred a criminal act.

Mr Clarke said: "We think [the bill] should include the incitement of racial hatred - we can't understand Tories and Lib Dems blocking it, but if they continue to block it they can obviously prevent it going in."

The incitement measure may appeal to the Muslim community, many of whose members have been critical of the government over the Iraq war.

Ministers say ID cards would help protect the UK against terrorism.

But critics say both the measures could curtail traditional British freedoms.

It is the government who decided to pack the Queen's Speech with too much legislation
Conservative spokesman

A Conservative spokesman hit back at the Labour attack, saying: "It's quite wrong for Charles Clarke to blame the Conservative Party for any pieces of legislation that may fail to make it through before an election.

"It is the government that decides the date of the election and the government who decided to pack the Queen's Speech with too much legislation."

The spokesman said the ID cards scheme was not due to come into force for 10 years so it was unwise and unnecessary to rush through a bill now.




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Why Charles Clarke supports ID card introduction



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