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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 March 2006, 09:17 GMT
MPs back identity card proposals
A sample ID card
The plans are likely to ping-pong between government and peers
Government plans to force all passport applicants to get an identity card have been backed by MPs, overturning an earlier defeat in the House of Lords.

Peers have twice defeated the plans, which they say break Labour's election promise that the initial ID scheme would be voluntary.

But Home Secretary Charles Clarke said passports were "voluntary documents" that no-one was forced to renew.

The Identity Cards Bill will return to the House of Lords on Wednesday.

The vote, which Labour won by 310 votes to 277, sets the stage for a constitutional clash between the Commons and the Lords.

Detailed debate

The bill is likely to keep "ping-ponging" between the two houses until a compromise is reached or one side gives way.

Last week peers rejected the plans after Conservatives and Liberal Democrats joined forces to defeat the government.

Critics said the link with passports amounted to "compulsion by stealth".

But Home Office minister Andy Burnham said peers should bow to MPs on the issue.

"This issue has been debated in detail by Parliament," he said.

"It is now time for the Lords to let us get on with the job of building a high quality identity system that will help the UK meet the challenges of the 21st Century."

If peers reject the proposal on Wednesday, MPs are expected to have to vote again in the Commons on Thursday.

Ultimately, if the deadlock continues, the Commons has the option of using the Parliament Act to force the measure through despite the Lords' opposition.


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