Gordon Brown on the ID card scheme

Gordon Brown was asked about ID cards during his interview on Radio 4′s Today programme on Saturday 12th May. Here’s what he said:

R4: Are you committed to the ID card plan?

GB: Yes. We are going through with the ID plan, and -

R4: No rethink.

GB: What I said yesterday, I think it’s a very important point here, if you are in a situation, where you or I, could easily have my identity stolen, then that is a threat to my privacy and my civil liberties, and that is an increasingly common feature of our society. If you are also in a situation where you have people with massive numbers of separate identities, and using these in passports and elsewhere to get into the country, then identity is becoming a far more important issue. But what I feel that you’ve got to show people is that as you have to take measures to deal with the security of the country, you’ve also got to show people that the civil liberties of the individual are respected, that there will be no arbitrariness; that at the same time there will be proper accountability for any decisions that are made, and of course the strengthening of the Parliamentary procedures for accountability, and at the same time the assurance to people that their identity or any other aspect of what they do will not be treated in an arbitrary way, is an important part of what I believe is the British constitution, what I believe is what people in Britain have valued over the centuries, that the civil liberties of the individual are upheld.

Listen again here with Realplayer, starting at 8′ 20″.

Allies cast doubt on future of identity card project

Alan Travis, writes in The Guardian:

Jack Straw, now widely expected to replace John Reid as home secretary, signalled yesterday that the future of the £5.75bn national identity card scheme would be under review when Gordon Brown becomes prime minister next month.

Mr Straw, the leader of the Commons and Mr Brown’s leadership campaign manager, has a long record of personal opposition within cabinet to a compulsory ID card scheme. Sources close to the chancellor, said Mr Brown believed the slimmed-down Home Office needed stability and “Jack is a heavyweight who can hit the ground running”.

With the cost of the project spiralling and some of Mr Brown’s key supporters opposing it, a review could mark a significant break with the Blair era.

The article is partly based on a Radio 4 Today programme interview with Mr Straw on Friay 11th May – listen again here with RealPlayer (starting at 19′ 20″).