PN311005Const

IMMEDIATE

MONDAY 31 OCTOBER 2005

ATTENTION: EDITORS/NEWS EDITORS/POLITICAL CORRESPONDENTS

IDENTITY CARDS BILL TO BE DEBATED IN LORDS TODAY

LORDS CONSTITUTION COMMITTEE SAY IT HAS INADEQUATE SAFEGUARDS

The Bill which was passed by the Commons on 18 October and introduced in the House of Lords on 19 October will be debated today in the Lords.

The all-party House of Lords Constitution Committee published a critical report on 24 October which reiterated concerns about insufficient safeguards in the Identity Cards Bill.

The Committee concluded that:

  • An independent body (not the Government) should be the custodian of the National Identity Registrar and have proper safeguards to prevent improper access to data, by public servants and others.

  • The proposed National Identity Scheme Commissioner should be independent of Government, with the power to investigate complaints and be able to report directly to Parliament.

The Bill's scope should be limited to the "voluntary phase". If the scheme is extended compulsorily to the entire population, then new legislation should be required. 

The Committee's Chairman, Lord Holme of Cheltenham, will be speaking in the debate. Baronesss Scotland will reply for the Government.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. Link to whips for list of speakers in debate: http://www.lordswhips.org.uk/display/templatedisplay3.asp?sectionid=5

2. The report is published by the Stationery Office: Identity Cards Bill, House of Lords Select Committee on the Constitution, 3rd Report, Session 2005 − 06, HL Paper 44, ISBN 010 400748 6, price £5.50.

Link to the report: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200506/ldselect/ldconst/44/44.pdf

3. Parliament is covered live via: www.parliamentlive.tv.

[ENDS]