News from British and Canadian Conservatives

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Conservatives formally pledge to cancel ID card scheme




From Conservatives.com:



David Davis has written to Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell, giving
formal notice that an incoming Conservative administration would scrap the
Government's costly ID card project.

And the Shadow Home Secretary has warned of the financial dangers of the
Government signing contracts to set up the ID card scheme when it faces
cancellation if the Conservatives are returned to power at the next
election.

In his letter, Mr Davis asked what provision, if any, has been made in the
relevant contractual arrangements to protect the Government - and public funds -
against the costs that would be incurred as a result of early cancellation of
the scheme; with a similar letter fired off to likely major contractors, warning
them of the Party's intentions.

Just hours before the Conservatives launch a web and print based campaign
against Labour's ID Cards proposals, Mr Davis told Sir Gus: "As you will be
aware, the Conservative Party has stated publicly that it is our intention to
cancel the ID card project immediately on our being elected to government. You
are now formally on notice of our position and fully appraised of the contingent
risks and associated liabilities arising from the national identity card
scheme."

Referring to the planned roll out of the Government's national identity
card scheme later this year, Mr Davis reminded the Cabinet Secretary of the
longstanding convention that one Parliament may not bind a subsequent
Parliament.

He wrote: "I urge you to consider very carefully the Government's position,
in advance of the roll-out of the scheme later this year. As a matter of
financial prudence, it is incumbent upon you to ensure that public money is not
wasted, and contractual obligations are not incurred, investing in a scheme with
such a high risk of not being implemented.

"In particular, I would be interested to know what provision, if any, has
been made in the relevant contractual arrangements to protect the Government -
and public funds - against the costs that would be incurred as a result of early
cancellation of the scheme.


Conservatives oppose ID cards for three main reasons:


  • The cost, estimated at £20,000,000,000. The money could be better spent on prisons, drug rehab and policing, including a new Border Police Force. Worse still, everyone will have to pay £93 for a compulsory ID card, with £30 for replacements if you lose it or change your name, and fines of £1000 for being caught without a card, even if you're not doing anything wrong;

  • Ineffectiveness. ID cards won't stop terrorism, people trafficking or ID theft;

  • Invasion of privacy. Too much information will be held centrally, including fingerprints.

This is one of the first major policies to come out of the Conservative Party following the policy review ordered by David Cameron. Although it always seemed likely that this would become policy, it's announcement is most welcome. It looks like the wait for policies has been worth the wait and I look forward to more policies of the libertarian right to be delivered by the next Conservative Government very soon.

There's an online petition against ID cards, to sign click HERE.

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