Page last updated at 17:10 GMT, Wednesday, 9 June 2010 18:10 UK

May launches bill to axe 'intrusive' ID cards

Home Secretary Theresa May has moved to scrap the controversial £5bn national identity card scheme, declaring it "intrusive, bullying and ineffective".

She told MPs she was "very pleased" to be wielding the axe to ID cards, claiming that the move would lead to a "Millennium Dome's" worth of savings - or nearly £900m for the taxpayer.

On 9 June 2010, she argued that the cards were "un-British" and represented "the worst of government".

The government was sending a signal of its intention to conduct business differently, as the servants of the public and not their masters, she told MPs.

Ms May was speaking during second reading debate of the Identity Documents Bill, which will invalidate all existing cards within one month of the bill becoming law.

It will also destroy all information held on the National Identity Register, effectively dismantling it.

Shadow home secretary Alan Johnson said Labour would not vote against the bill, as he accepted the mandate of the government to abolish ID cards.

But he pointed out the "inconsistency" of the Tory position, as they had backed ID cards up to and through the 2005 general election.

He noted that Commons Leader Sir George Young and Work and Pensions minister Chris Grayling had supported a similar measure in January 2002 and that Home Secretary Theresa May had voted for the government's ID Cards Bill in December 2004.

Mr Johnson said: "The Conservatives have been consistently inconsistent to the point of perversity."

The second half of the debate can be found here.


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