Labour revolt over ID cards

no2id1.jpgBy Tom Shepherd | Campaigners fighting the Government’s plans for ID cards are claiming a victory after four Labour candidates seeking election to Oxford City Council on Thursday opposed the scheme.

And today, city councillor and Lord Mayor John Tanner, who is seeking re-election in his Littlemore seat, told Oxford campaign group NO2ID he also did not support the Government’s proposals.

NO2ID contacted each of the 101 candidates fighting for election to half the city council’s 48 seats to find out where they stood on the controversial issue.

NO2ID chairman Chris Rimmer, from Kennington, said although the scheme was a national one, it seemed likely local authorities would end up footing much of the bill.

He said candidates from the Conservative Party, Liberal Democrats and Green Party opposed the scheme, but five Labour candidates also said they were against the idea of a compulsory ID card system.

Mr Rimmer said: “When we carried out a similar exercise at the last local elections, there was a deafening silence from Labour candidates.

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“This time it appears they have seen how unpopular the policy is and are not afraid to declare themselves against it.

“With even grass-roots Labour activists turning against it, surely now the time has come for Gordon Brown to scrap this highly intrusive, expensive and potentially damaging scheme.”

In March, home secretary Jacqui Smith set out changes to the planned system.

Most people will not now have to give their fingerprints when getting a passport until 2011/12 – three years later than previously planned.

Plans to force passport applicants to get an ID card were also dropped, except for workers in security sensitive jobs who would need a card by 2009.

Students are also encouraged to get ID cards from 2010, while non-EU migrants applying for leave to enter or remain in the UK, such as students of spouses, would need ID cards from November.

The Government’s aim is that by 2015, 90 per cent of foreign nationals will have to hold ID cards.

Mr Tanner said ID cards would be expensive and ineffective.

He said: “There are better and cheaper ways of tackling terrorism, stopping identity theft and controlling immigration.

“The Government is right to delay the introduction of ID cards.

Labour’s Mr Tanner is standing against Fionn Stevenson (Green), Yvonne Lowe (Conservative) and Neil Fawcett (Liberal Democrat).