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The trouble with ID cards

Sample ID card
Crime-buster or Big Brother? Tell Breakfast what you think of ID cards
Another Monday morning - and the start of a tough week for the Prime Minister in the House of Commons.

He faces a battle with some of his own backbenchers over three key areas of legislation: identity cards, banning smoking in pubs and anti-terror laws.

The first of his headaches comes today, in the shape of the government's plans for Identity Cards.

They'll be debated by MPs, after getting a substantial mauling in the House of Lords. And it looks as though the government may need to compromise to get its plans through.

This morning on Breakfast:

  • At 6.40am, we talked to Simon Davies from the London School of Economics. He's been studying the government's ID cards plan and reckons they'll cost far more than the government's admitted: possibly as much as 240 per card.

  • At 7.40am, we heard from Home Office Minister Tony McNulty - one of the ministerial team which is trying to push through the ID cards legislation.

    Recordings of our interviews will be available shortly.

  • And, we want to hear what you think: are ID cards vital in the fight against crime - or a threat to our civil liberties? Jump straight to our e-mail form

    More from BBC News online

    The Identity Cards Bill was defeated three times in the Lords last month.

    Peers voted the scheme could not go ahead until the full costs were known and for more security provisions for personal data stored.

    But the government has resisted pressure to reveal the full costs of setting up ID card schemes, saying it could jeopardise sensitive negotiations.


    Under current plans, anybody getting a new British passport from 2008 would also get an ID card and have their biometric data, including fingerprints and iris scan, put on a national database.

    The government compromised on its plans in an effort to head off a Commons defeat. Ministers have now accepted that completely new legislation will be needed to make the cards compulsory.

    Civil rights group Liberty, however, remains concerned the government remains behind the principle of compulsory ID cards.

    It is planning to stage a demonstration outside Parliament ahead of the vote.

    "ID cards are not the magic bullet against fraudsters, terrorists, and illegal immigrants as the government proposes," added Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti.

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