back to article Brown will 'scrap ID cards' for UK citizens, claims paper

Compulsory ID cards are to be scrapped, claims the Sunday Mirror today. And although the claim was immediately denied by ministers, the tone of the denials so far has been mysteriously unconvincing. Home Office Minister Tony McNulty in particular seems to give the impression of a man who suspects he might not know what's going …


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  1. Ian


    > the tone of the denials so far has been mysteriously unconvincing.

    Is that perhaps because we've all reached the state where we consider any words that come from a Minister's lips, even "Yes, I'd like a cup of tea", as one step removed from a bold-faced lie.

    I'm incidentally reminded of a Yes Ministerism: "Never believe anything until it's been officially denied."

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Rebuilding Hadrians Wall?

    There is still the problem of "other people" who are not in the system. A visitor of less than 6 months doesn't have a UK ID card, the system has to trust whatever identity documents they carry. That's rather like bolting the stable door having forgotten to build the back wall.

    If what is written in the report is true, "other people" includes the Scots. So are we to expect a dramatic rebuilding of Hadrians Wall?

  3. Scott Silver badge
    Black Helicopters


    As a British citizen who was born in Scotland, will I be exempt from this nonsense, even if I have been living in England for 20 years and have married a native?

  4. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Rebuilding Hadrians Wall?

    It is, as I recall, three months. As far as I can see even that's a pretty big loophole, as you could survive indefinitely just by nipping out of the country every now and again. If they know how they're going to handle that one, they have yet to share the information with the rest of us. Rebuilding Hadrian's Wall would be interesting, as it would involve the English giving us back Berwick. Took their time about that one - can we have the Isle of Man back too, then? (-:

  5. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Scottish

    You've lost your native pessimism, then? (-: No.

    You're only exempt from whatever it is they'll get up to with the GRO records for as long as IPS doesn't get its hands on the General Registry Office for Scotland. You're not exempt from biometric passports anyway, and in the event of them carrying on with the whole scheme as originally planned, passport renewal beyond the date when they make ID cards compulsory will automatically get you onto the ID Register and hand you a passport.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    Whilst I have nothing to hide, I am completely against UK citizens being forced to have an ID card - so I truly hope this story has some facts behind it.

    The main problem with an ID card scheme is that it will centralise the means for criminals to get hold of data that they should not have. Each time you raise the bar for the wrongdoers, they go away and come back with more a effective means of getting over - which is invariably much harder to detect and deal with. End result: Increase costs all round and not solve the problem.


  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    Actually, I was wondering if I could take Scottsh nationality... or would I be regarded as a 3rd world immigrant?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Harriet Harman...

    ...was on The World this Weekend and her denial of the Mirror story seemed very precisely worded. When asked about the reports the government was planning on scrapping ID cards for British citizens, Hazza opined:

    'Well I think that's false, we're absolutely clear that we're going to have proper biometric identification for people from abroad who are in this country...'

    Brian Hanrahan interrupted and reiterated the question about abandoning ID cards for Brits, she continued:

    'there's no change in our policy that's been announced.'

    It's like the good old days of Kremlinology.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Fabulous quote from a minister

    According to the Mirror report:

    'A minister involved in the original ID card plan proposed by former premier Tony Blair said: "Time and technology has moved on. We now have photo driving licences and isometric passports are being introduced. They fulfil the role of ID cards."'

    Isometric passports - not only do they stop terror, they keep you fit at the same time.

  10. Tony Humphreys
    Black Helicopters

    Cynic, me, nooooooo

    Perhaps its the cynic in me, but are thes plans that are to be 'put on the back burner' or kicked into the long grass the same long grass, bacl burner as the plans to charge us (again) for taking away our bins, or the plans to track our every movement and charge us by satellite.

    Thought so.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hain's pass laws

    Nice catch... it has been peculiar watching the British government enacting laws that echo old apartheid-era South Africa. Pass laws, detention without trial, even bantustans for certain ethnic minorities.

    Now they just need to work on influx control, jobs for pals, and loosing the security forces from the bonds of accountability.

    Never mind free Mandela, these days the objective should be Clone Mandela.

  12. Alex Hearl


    "...he's a Home Office veteran, so ignorance is nothing new...."

    that's sooo funny I forgot to check for the PH angle!

  13. |333173|3|_||3

    Can I see your ID?

    Police: can I see your ID please?

    Illegal immigrant: I don't have one, I'm a citizen

    Police: OK...

    Something tells me this is a slightly bigger loophole than nipping in and out of the country.

  14. Robert T

    Optional photo-only EU-recognised ID cards, please!

    As a british citizen living on the mainland, I am expected to carry my passport with me at all times as it is the only suitable form of identification available to me. I of course break the law on a daily basis because carrying a passport is such a nuisance. All I want is a basic ID card that would let me travel around the EU without needing my passport. I don't want biometric extras. I just want the necessary information as accepted by the EU. I don't care if it's compulsory or not in britain - just give me a damn ID card for the EU.

  15. Brian Squibb
    Thumb Up


    Isle of Man is an independent protectorate - free from Endland and Scotland and the Mad Mullah

  16. Steve

    @anon coward

    Hain's Pass Laws is a good analogy and must strike close to the bone. The old farts who read this must remember tha Hain Stopped Play campaign of the 70s.


  17. Anonymous Coward

    Get over it!

    ID Cards will happen, there is nothing you can do about it, so get over it and get on with life.

    Sure they may not be compulsory, initially, but it will be just so much easier to do stuff with one than without. Our passports are fast becoming an ID card anyway, you need that as an easy proof of ID for many things these days. The up and coming changes to passports, which are agreed by international treaty, and the Department of Homeland Security, will probably contain the majority of ID card features anyway, it's highly likely that many of us will find ourselves renewing our passports early anyway because it will be so much easier to get into some countries if we have one, and why not get the ID card at the same time.

    You can bet many government services will be a whole lot easier to access if you have an ID card as well. Think of the hassle moving house, update the address on the ID card and you automatically have your NHS, DVLA, HMRC, DWP and the rest changed for you. In fact there is no reason you couldn't automatically be issued with new documents for all those things.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Got over it.

    Now I know how to destroy an RFID tag with 10 seconds on high in the microwave.

    Erosion of civil liberties is not something to be 'got over', people die every day for the liberties and freedom we have in the UK and you're happy to see them taken away bit by bit? Maybe when you're being monitored and tracked every second of every day and your neighbours are reporting on you because you said something critical about the state you'll realise how much your civil liberties were worth. Hopefully you'll realise before it gets to that point because you damn sure won't be able to do anything about it afterwards.

  19. Brian Squibb
    Thumb Down

    Re: Get over it

    So the loop hole is not to move or get a passport.

    So an illegal comes in under a forged passport to an address of convenience.

    The baddies win, the goodies lose. Sounds like paying taxes.

  20. Duncan Hothersall

    @ Get over it!

    Ah yes, the simplification of life that will come with a single, impregnable ID. Easy proof of ID for everything. What could possibly go wrong with that?

    Well, you might want to ask a security expert. Try and find one that isn't hooked into the gravy train of ID database development. She or he might tell you that multiple ID sources for different purposes is inherently more secure than a single ID used for multiple purposes. One can fail, and the rest remain secure. In your brave new world, there is only one point of failure for your entire life to be screwed.

  21. Matt Bryant Silver badge

    RE:Re: Rebuilding Hadrians Wall?

    Only if you agree to take Liverpool too! ;)

  22. Hanni Ali

    Democracy becomes a police state easier than you think...

    Any society that will give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.

    - Benjamin Franklin

    This is one of the single most relevant quotes for the current age of anti terrorist paranoia. What is the point in trying to stop terrorists if in doing so we turn ourselves into a police controlled state. Eventually we will stop immigration because peoples desire to come to a "free country" (us in the UK) will no longer be a valid reason and they will stay in their own Islamic Law/Communist Police State/Corrupt Government/etc. country.

  23. Colin Jackson


    "Think of the hassle moving house, update the address on the ID card and you automatically have your NHS, DVLA, HMRC, DWP and the rest changed for you. In fact there is no reason you couldn't automatically be issued with new documents for all those things."


  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hadrian's Wall

    I like the sound of this. It would put me in Scotland so I am free of this nonsense! Maybe Scotland would remember that something exists north of Leeds.

  25. Anonymous Coward

    Can I get an ID Card anyway?

    Can I get a card and access to all services required based on my being a UK national?

    I'd love one and want one now, and we should make sure that access to any services requires you have one.

    Bring on the ID Card - please.

  26. Mark Bowen

    @Clint Sharp

    I couldn't agree more with you.

    Slightly off-topic, but it's a damn shame I can't fit my wheelie-bin in the microwave to stop all this blimmin' nonsense!

  27. Ascylto


    So, you're not Jewish, homosexual, Roma, politically subversive, asocial (a useful term covering anyone the government dislikes at the time) because, if you were, you might have some awareness of the dangers of the ID database.

    You are, however, stupid. You seem to assume that such a database could work properly, remain secure and not be used inappropriately. In view of this, you should be MADE to carry an ID card. This will serve as a warning to anyone to whom you present it.

    Have a look at the badge categorisation the Nazis used in the concentration camps. If you can't find a badge which includes you ... I'll invent one.

  28. Anonymous Coward

    @ isle of man

    isle of man may be independant but thats where 90% of peods are shipped too! id prefer the id card to that!

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Already Bad!

    I already object to being asked for two kinds of ID when I want to buy a house, transfer cash, fart, buy a car..... etc.

    (Ok, not fart but everything else)

    Quite clear we no longer live in a free country in any sense of the word.

    ID Cards? Just another nail in the coffin. Let's hope the rumour of their death is true!

  30. JayB

    re: Get over it!

    Anon Coward... Good sheep, roll over... baaaa... play dead.

    FFS I cannot believe that people in this day and age are still not only happy, but near as dammit insisting on handing over sole control of the governance of their ID to a repeatedly proved, untrustworthy Government who has repeatedly proved they couldn't organise an IT related piss up in a technologically adequate Brewery!!!

    I despair.

    Sod the taxi, when's the next flight outta here???

  31. Gav

    Removing the hassle of crime

    "Think of the hassle moving house, update the address on the ID card and you automatically have your NHS, DVLA, HMRC, DWP and the rest changed for you. In fact there is no reason you couldn't automatically be issued with new documents for all those things."

    Think of the hassle stealing someone's identity, update the address on the ID card and you automatically have their NHS, DVLA, HMRC, DWP and the rest stolen for you. In fact there is no reason you couldn't automatically steal new documents for all those things.

  32. Peter Fielden-Weston
    Thumb Up

    @Mark Bowen

    Tagged Wheelie Bins. What you, and your neighbors should have done on receiving the bins is 1) Don't mark them with your house number. 2) EVERY bin day, you and two neighbors swap bins at random. Your neighbors (including the two you swapped with) do the same. Very soon NO ONE knows who has which bin and what was in it.

    There sorted.

  33. Mickey Porkpies

    Identity Tax

    How are we going to pay for this? probably with Private partnerships sharing data for a fee... or will they just cross reference data from Facebook?

    This is a massively expensive system which nobody (publically) will know the cost of. We are more at threat from a mugging than a terrorist bombing but who cares this gives us control.

    When you are lying in the street, mugged and waiting for an ambulance to be sent from the centralised hospital 30 miles away sleep ( or die) knowing that they will positively identify you so they can tax you inheitance!

  34. tardigrade

    Re: Get over it!

    Exactly how fast are people in the UK being indoctrinated into accepting this kind of bull? It staggers me that some people are so happy to languish in ignorant bliss, knowing so little of the concept of liberty. Or is that the Governments plan? Accept unrestricted regulation as the desirable norm.

    This would explain the constant efforts to control us through fear. Fear of the Terrorist, fear of the peado, fear of crime, all used as a stick to beat us with so that we willing accept regulation that strips us of liberty.

    I am finding it difficult to express fully my exasperation and contempt (or is it pity?) for those people who seem to want to gladly step into our captors metaphorical prison cell and thank them when they lock the door in order to protect us from the ill perceived demon's that we must be insulated from.

    Ignorance is indeed bliss and from the comfortable confines of your self imposed prison cell you will have plenty of time to enjoy your regulated "liberty" and mull over the possibility that perhaps most of the Demon's you have allowed yourself to locked away from are in fact ghosts.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RE: Optional photo-only EU-recognised ID cards,

    In reply to Richard T, I'm a UK citizen living on the continent and had to get the (photo-only) ID card from the EU country I'm living in. Wallet sized laminated plastic and free. Works all round the EU.

    I even used it for passport control coming into the UK, with a distressing lack of reaction from the UK passport examiner.

  36. A J Stiles
    Dead Vulture

    @Mark Bowen

    About tagged wheelie bins.

    By using energy-efficient appliances and turning them off when they are not in use, I pay less for the small amount of electricity I use than someone who leaves filament light bulbs and electric heaters blazing all day.

    With a high-efficiency electronic-ignition combi boiler and TRVs all around, I pay less for my gas than someone who has a permanent-pilot boiler, a poorly-insulated hot water cylinder and who leaves radiators on in empty rooms all the time.

    Do you think any part of this is unfair? Do you consider gas and electric meters to be an infringement of your civil liberties? No?

    Well, why the hell should I have to pay as much to have a two-thirds-full wheelie bin removed once every six weeks as my neighbours who present an overflowing wheelie bin *every* week?

    At least with some means of identifying which bin belongs to whom, there's a chance that I'll be billed FAIRLY for my non-recyclables.

    (I'd like to think that, when they get around to equipping my street with individual recycling bins as opposed to expecting me to trek half a mile to the communal ones with my paper, bottles and cans, they might be able to pay me for them; I'm not holding my breath, though .....)

  37. Law

    el reg.... tututut

    I stopped reading and jumped straight to entering this comment as soon as I read about it coming from the Mirror.

    I hold you up as a beacon of truth to friends and family, when you start just re-typing stuff made up by tabloids it's just slapping me in the face.

  38. This post has been deleted by its author

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Some things are best paid for by the individual, some by a community's common kitty. It is sensible to pay for rubbish collection out of the common kitty because it is in everyone's interest for the rubbish to be dealt with properly, not just the individual unfortunate enough to have been lumbered with the most. Because it is in everyone's interest not to have the antisocial elements fly-tip outside their property regardless as to whether they have an overflowing wheelie-bin each week, or a two thirds full wheelie-bin every two months. None of this applies to power consumption. But surely this is too obvious to need to be pointed out ?

  40. tardigrade


    "Well, why the hell should I have to pay as much to have a two-thirds-full wheelie bin removed once every six weeks as my neighbours who present an overflowing wheelie bin *every* week?"

    You shouldn't have to and neither should anyone else. We all pay for refuse disposal already via Council Tax. Chip and Bin is an additional tax. You are not going to get a Council Tax rebate for dumping less anytime soon this side of the Apocalypse.

    That's the whole bone of contention. The won't get paid for your bottles and cans so you're right not to hold your breath. Which is more proof that the Chip and Bin is a Green wash. It's about taxation for taxations sake.

    By the way El Reg where's the Stupicon that depicts Gordon Brown raping the UK?

  41. Frank Bough
    Thumb Up

    Errr... John

    "Rebuilding Hadrian's Wall would be interesting, as it would involve the English giving us back Berwick. Took their time about that one - can we have the Isle of Man back too, then?"

    We'll be quite happy to fight you for both, though I did think we were rather past the British nations having to prove which one was the strongest.

    How soon you all forget.

  42. John A Blackley


    All of this talk about resistance to id cards and the erosion of civil liberties - I'm trying to recall the time when I was able to buy/rent a house, get credit, or travel across borders without some form of identification. And, blow me, but the old memory's gone and I simply can't!

    Of course, in those days (the late Stone Age), 'technology' was driven by steam and 'biometrics' was a photograph signed on the back by my family doctor. 'Identity theft' was much less popular than 'breaking into your house and nicking all of your possessions - including your pension book and then pretending to be you at the Post Office'. My secret government file was mostly secret because nobody was organised enough to find it - which was a bit of a bore if I ever wanted the government to do anything for me - like replace my pension book.

    I applaud all of the guardians of my liberty on sites like this and acknowledge your fears. Now, please tell me how a government is going to manage immigration, my money (in the form of government handouts) and the criminal justice system in an age when anyone with a computer and the wit of a vole can forge documents?

    Or is this all just about pointing at things and saying they're broken?

  43. Anonymous Coward

    @Get over it!

    "ID Cards will happen, there is nothing you can do about it, "

    No no. There is nothing /you/ can do about it, because you are stupid and apathetic and cannot be bothered to get involved in your own life. There is nothing that /you/ can do about anything, and it's all your own fault.

    But please don't assume the rest of us are as lazy and feeble as you.

  44. Danny Thompson
    Dead Vulture

    Remember Brazil

    An inspired film that is becoming reaity in the UK as we live and breathe. Very scary indeed - - and there's these idiots here willing to bend over and take it up the jacksie.

    It is time for another World War to remind us what freedom is, why it is worth fighting for and, more importantly, why we should never let it be lost to those who would take it away from us. In the past 30 years this country has become unrecognisable for the creeping state burocracy and control.

  45. Graham Marsden
    Thumb Down

    @John A Blackley

    "please tell me how a government is going to manage immigration, my money (in the form of government handouts) and the criminal justice system in an age when anyone with a computer and the wit of a vole can forge documents?"

    No, because that is just a classic attempt at reversing the Burden of Proof.

    If you and the Government think ID cards are such a good idea, please provide clear evidence that they will help manage immigration, your money (in the form of government handouts) and the criminal justice system without making our private information available to anyone who has the wit of a vole to get themselves a job in any Council Office or minor Government Department and then crib a password off someone who has full access to it all.

    If you cannot do this, then why should we accept such a system?

  46. Mark Bowen

    Wheelie Bins, etc.

    Hey, a debate! :-) I would prefer to pay a flat fee for my rubbish collection. That's my own view. It's much simpler and overall fairer - everyone is on a level playing field. We are not going to get a reduction in council tax if pay as you throw is implemented, the money will be used to fund other shortfalls in council budgets.

    Just consider for a moment... What does everyone imagine will happen when people have to pay as they throw?

    There you are with your half empty bin. There is your neighbour with a full bin and some more to throw out. So they go round looking for empty bins in the street and dump their rubbish in those (yours) and therefore you with your half-empty bin will pay more for the extra rubbish that's not yours which is now filling up your bin!

    Yeah, that's fair and reasonable!

    The solution = lockable wheelie bins.

    Would the last person to leave the country, please turn out the light?

    And anyway, the actual effort to empty a bin is the same no matter how full it is isn't it? One still has to pay for the lovely bin men/women to come round even if there is no bin to empty? The only difference is the amount collected, so where is the financial benefit?

  47. Anonymous Coward

    1984 in 2007 !

    Whilst in principal I don't have any objection to carrying an ID card. Indeed, there are potentially many benefits if the system were to be administered sensibly. This unfortunately is where the whole scheme falls flat on it's arse!

    As with everything in this country, there is always a hidden and alternative agenda. My concern is that ID cards will be just another way of "Big Brother" prying into the private lives of law abiding British Citizens. However, the fact is we are being stitched up by stealth anyway; there is already a UK DNA database that holds information on 13% of the population and growing at a rate of 150 new records every hour (so I believe, don't quote me) - and most samples have been obtained without knowledge or consent!

    So, here's the thing.. UK Driving Licenses have for some time comprised of two parts; the Plastic Photo Card and the Paper Counterpart. I don't see why ID cards cant just be a "Platic Photo Card" to accompany the UK Passport. Then, the only legislation required is to force every British Citizen (over the age of 10 years) to hold a UK Passport and carry the accompanying Photo Card. Anyone that is not a British Citizen should then have to carry their passport (or other valid form of ID).

    Perhaps then, since the ID Card would in effect be a credit card size passport, it could be used for travel within the EU!

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