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Press Cycle 3 - ID Cards
What do you think about ID Cards? What do you make of the Government's recent announcement in this area?

Cycle closes at 23:59 on the 1st January 2020
ID Cards will make us and our identities safer and more secure. But I know that it's a big change, and I want people to understand both that it is a pragmatic, useful change that will give them more control over their identity, and feel secure that it is being done and used with the best intentions. Therefore, today I announced in the House of Commons that when ID cards are introduced they will be free, they will only become compulsory after further legislation after the next election, and I have asked Baron Morris - an esteemed Lord on matters of equality, human, and civil rights - to lead a review of what additional safeguards we can put in place as we implement the scheme. ID cards are pragmatic, sensible, and will make us all safer - and this Government will take the steps necessary to implement them in a fair and balanced way.
Eleanor Nerina | Labour MP for Brent North (2010 - )
Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation, and Sustainable Growth (2019 - )
Traits: Campaign organiser / Media darling / Finite resources
Following the Home Secretary's announcement, I am confident that the government's identity card scheme will be positive not just for security but for social justice too. Identification is a necessary requirement for navigating through British society - with domestic flights, age verification, collecting deliveries and many other activities requiring it. Unfortunately, so many of the most vulnerable are excluded from these things because identification comes with a price tag. 

By establishing a form of definitive identification and ensuring that this identification will be provided free, we will not just be protecting but liberating millions of the most vulnerable Britons. Of course, I understand there are multiple concerns surrounding the scheme and how it will impact many vulnerable communities - including BAME communities - which is why I am proud the government has also asked Baron Morris to conduct a review into what safeguards can be introduced to protect those communities.
Arthur Sweeney MP for Bootle (2001-Present).
                           Prime Minister (2007-Present).
Media Unknown/Backbench Favourite/Campaign Organiser.
From the office of Harriert Laski

Id cards have never sat confortably with me but I welcome overtures that the government is making, the Blair government came across as bullish in its approach to implementing measures like ID cards and we have seen a different apprach from Prime Minister Sweeney and the new home secretary.

I welcome the decision to make them free as many low income families and those in the squeezed middle could find themselves with hefty bill to access many vital parts of every day life. I also look forward to seeing the findings of the review and will continue to press the government to ensure that traditional British liberties are not impacted as must endeavour to balance the need for security with the need for civil liberties..
Harriet Laski
Green Party Co-Leader
Candidate for Bristol West
Constituency Appeal, Campaigning Guru, Finite Resources
As we progress further into the 21st Century, emerging threats require modern solutions. ID cards are a sensible and pragmatic response to the threats that we as a nation face. At the moment, we remain very vulnerable to threats such as identity theft and fraud. ID cards provide a vital line of defence in the war on organised crime, and ensures that a person's identity remains theirs, taking power out of the hands of fraudsters. The government also plans to make these identity cards free to all, ensuring that a person's situation proves no barrier to ensuring that they have access to an extremely secure form of unique identification. Of course, this is a long term programme, and the decision on whether or not these will be compulsory for all British citizens lies with the next parliament, not this one. But in the meantime, the process of allowing people to apply for these will begin, in tandem with our plan to issue biometric passports, a scheme supported by all major parties that will increase border security and aid in the fight against terrorism

Many people have voiced reasonable concerns about the introduction of ID cards as being a threat to civil liberties and our liberal, democratic way of life in the UK. As humans, it is natural to feel uncomfortable about data being held on us. However, rather than being something that undermines civil liberties, I see ID cards as an essential tool in protecting these rights from those who would seek to take them away. Many countries within the EU, like ours, are strong liberal democracies. They just so happen to also have ID cards for their citizens, which does not detract in any way from their strong defence of civil liberties. Their governments, like ours, believe that ID cards, at their core, are one of the best defences for our liberties and our way of life: protecting our rights to live and work  freely without the threat of identity theft.
Julia Goldman
Shadow Secretary of State for Scoltand
Shadow Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Growth
Shadow Minister for Women and Equalities
Member of Parliament for Dumfries and Galloway (2019 - present)
Scottish Conservative and Unionist

Media Darling/Campaigning Guru/Socially Unaware
The Government is taking a firm stand in favour of security and civil liberties with its recent announcement in ID cards. There are several realities that opposition politicians refuse to address. First – a secure biometric identity document will provide the United Kingdom with a new tool to fight terrorism, organised crime, and identity theft. That is what the Director-General of the Security Service endorsed ID cards. Second – numerous safeguards, from explicit bans on linking the National Identity Registry to policy databases to the reviews announced by the Home Secretary, exist to ensure that every Briton’s civil liberties are respected. Opposition politicians are choosing to attack ID cards with outdated talking points that don’t reflect actual policy.

More importantly, opposition leaders decided that we should never implement a policy unless every outcome can be guaranteed. That we shouldn’t have to adjust policies because we should be omniscient in addressing every possible concern before a policy is rolled out. That is a recipe for paralysis. It is a recipe for ensuring that government cannot take action to secure Britain or her people. We need a government that responds to critiques and takes action to rectify flaws as systems, like the ID cards system, are being built. Britain needs a government that is dynamic, not dogmatic. This government is introducing dynamic changes that lead to pragmatic policy. Repeating dogma over and over again, like the Liberal Democrats are want to do, will prevent any forward movement on sensible policies and sensible security. That is not acceptable.
Caroline Blakesley || Foreign Secretary
Labour | Holborn and St Pancras (2001-present)
Traits: Media Darling, Campaigning Guru, Maverick
Dogma. Dogma, dogma, dogma. That seems to be the favourite word of the government in this whole debate, and it is an appalling attempt to portray those who have valid concerns about their ID card plan as zealots. Millions of Brits have doubts about this scheme or are worried about the consequences of what poor implementation might mean for them and their communities, and the government just dismisses it as "dogma". That is not rational debate. That is not addressing the concerns of the British people in good faith. That is an attempt to shut down the debate and caricature those in opposition. Hardly promising behaviour from a government seeking more powers over our lives.

The ID cards will cost billions of pounds of taxpayer money. The government will tell us this investment is worth it - the evidence suggests otherwise. ID cards have failed to stop terrorism abroad, have done little to hurt organised criminals, and might even be a blessing in disguise for identity thieves. It will be a highly costly endeavour, and the sort of big project that is so prone to massive cost overruns and technical errors, especially considering the rushed timetable the government is favouring. That money could be better spent on techniques - such as hiring more police and improving community relations, working to improve the rule of law internationally and stop transnational criminal supply chains - that we know are effective at stopping terrorism and organised crime. That is what the Liberal Democrats propose - scrapping the expensive and wasteful ID card project, putting that money into more police officers and better public safety instead.

The government is arguing that ID cards are necessary to stop identity theft. While I rightly agree that identity theft is a horrendous crime that requires more focus from policymakers and we should work cross-party to stamp it out, I am utterly unconvinced by the government’s claim that ID cards are a cure-all. In fact, some security experts think they’ll backfire, concerns the government have dismissed as “dogma”. Far from preventing identity theft, ID cards might exacerbate the problem, and the hardship and damage that results, by giving identity thieves and scammers a single, unified document to focus their efforts on. And it’s not just me saying this. The Microsoft UK National Technology Officer, Jerry Fishenden, has said that some of the features of the government’s proposed scheme - such as the centralised nature of the scheme creating a “richly rewarding target” for criminals, the risk of carelessly “broadcasting” confidential and personal information when it is not needed, and the high risks that come from biometric data being compromised - could result in “massive identity fraud on a scale beyond anything we have ever seen before”. This is especially alarming if there are errors with the computer databases - a risk that the government cannot rule out. There are, again, effective ways of fighting identity theft - namely increasing the resources that the police have for investigations and enforcement - that do not carry the uncertain benefits and unwieldy risks of ID cards.

Let us not beat around the bush here. ID cards, as the government envisions them, are a civil liberties nightmare. It will violate the sacrosanct expectations to privacy and liberty, not just for us, but for future generations too. It risks changing the relationship between state and citizen into that of master and subject.

Though the system will start off as voluntary and be phased in bit by bit, each new wave of applicants essentially guinea pigs in this great surveillance experiment, the end goal is a compulsory system. Make no mistake about that. The government will fine you if you are reluctant to sign up, if you lose your card or it gets broken and you forget to tell them, if you change home and don’t notify them in time. And the potential for these cards being used to create elaborate and highly-detailed accounts of every aspect of your life - every medical visit, every financial transaction, everything you do on the internet - is real. Predicting your movements, regulating your life, preventing any expression of individualism.

The government might say that they won’t be using the database for such intrusive purposes. I believe that they won’t. I believe they are sincere - but naive all at the same time. Future governments might not be so respectful. The fact is, the infrastructure will be in place for any government in the future to, with a flick of a pen or on a capricious whim, violate these most basic of civil liberties. That’s why feature creep is such a big concern. The moment we have a government that does not respect civil liberties at all, New Labour’s legacy will be leaving them the tools they need to set up an Orwellian security state.
Grant Smith
Liberal Democrat MP for Leeds North West (2005-present)

Media Unknown, Constituency Appeal, Campaign Organiser, Fundraiser Extraordinaire 
Previously: Sir Lachlan Domnhall Coinneach Duncan MacMahon; Graham Adiputera; I think I played some dull Labour bloke at one point
The high cost to the tax payer is right to make anyone worried. But it doesn't end there. A database containing a large array of identifying and biometric data about every single Briton us bound to be the largest IT project in history. The thing is: large projects such as these are too complex for comfort and always run the risk of overspending. I am not sure the government has done nearly enough to minimize those risks. That's why this ID cards scheme shows it's about time government prestige projects were subjected to rigorous independent scrutiny so that that chance is minimized.

Identity theft is a huge issue with the new database, especially with a wide range of sensitive data being stored on every single British citizen. It is absolutely right that people are concerned about the chance that criminals might get their hands on their records and abuse them, and it is absolutely right for people who have done absolutely nothing wrong to be concerned about the government demanding these records in the first place. Apart from the fact that those are two very good reasons not to pursue this policy, they also show that we need a comprehensive strategy for data protection and cybersecurity to reassure people that the considerable amount of data the government stores is safe.

The government is lining up new spending commitments left right and centre. While making identity cards free does soften the issues a little, I would argue that the cost of taking this project up to 5 billion pounds is simply not worth it if you consider the possible alternatives. Just imagine the amount of police officers we could hire, or what we could invest in innovative units to tackle the increasing threat of cybercrime and identity fraud, and then ask yourselves if this is worth it. Even if the cards are free, the policy itself is not.
the Rt Hon. Emily Greenwood MP

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party (2019-)

MP for Barrow & Furness (2010-)
Secretary of State for Education (2019-)
Lord Keeper of the Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons (2019-)

Shadow SoS for Public Services (2019)

Traits: Media Darling, Campaigning Guru, Constituency Appeal, Finite Resources
Do you guys just hate talking to each other now? Or have you become so British you'll queue up to talk to the media? This is a weird one to mark because Labour didn't respond to a single criticism after the fact, not one. The cycle started with great positive comments from the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister, followed by an endorsement of sorts by arch-nemesis of the soft left Harriet Laski. McMahon made a couple of good, if repeated, points to follow them up before Blakesley did what she does best and took a Home Office issue and showed the World why the Foreign Office should have an opinion on it.

Unfortunately for Labour this is where a World of hurt turns up because Sir Dunk isn't playing around when it comes to civil liberties. He tears into the Government's framing attacking the use of the word "dogma" as an attempt to de-legitimise perfectly legitimate queries and fears, he savages the cost and says the funding should go to police instead, he points out that ID cards might make ID theft even more prevalent, and he rounds it all off by drawing allusions to an Orwellian superstate circa 1983. The comments were separate and they addressed different points but they flowed together and can even be seen as a single coherent narrative thread. They were very good and Labour took a lot of very serious damage on this issue from Sir Dunk, Defender of Liberty.

Labour took yet more damage when Elaine Ashbury turned up. Where Dunk didn't really mention the database too much she devotes an entire comment to attacking it as the largest IT project in history and a pretty decent target for cyber crime. She talks about how the Government are not minimising the risks, how they are not beefing up security, and how much it will cost. Not as strong as Dunk but definitely bringing some new stuff to the table that hurts Labour.

All in all this is definitely a solid Lib Dem win followed probably by Labour and then the Tories in short order. I'll give influence points to Manning, Sweeney, Blakesley, and Ashbury.

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