Thanet NO2ID recently contacted Thanet constituency parliamentary candidates —the ones that had contact information readily available online that is—and asked them to comment on where they currently stood ref the government’s ID scheme. Here is my note together with the candidates’ responses listed in the order that they were received:
Dear [name inserted]
As a candidate standing in the upcoming general election, I was wondering if you could give me your view/s on the national ID scheme currently being rolled out by the Home Office. Also, would you if elected support the repeal the National Identity Cards Act (2006) in the next parliament?
Please note that I would like to report any comment you make verbatim on Thanet NO2ID's blog [link removed]. As a single issue pressure group we do not tell people how to vote, but we are interested to let Thanet voters know where you stand on this important issue.
Roger Gale (Con. Thanet North)
I am wholly opposed to the government`s plan.
Laura Murphy (Lib-Dem. Thanet North)
I can categorically state that I am personally opposed to the ID scheme and I would wholeheartedly support the repeal of the National Identity Cards Act.
ID cards are completely unnecessary when we already have plenty of means to prove who we are. The track record the government has about keeping our personal details safe is a joke and we all know that a determined hacker can break into any IT system eventually. It's therefore disingenuous of the current government to say that ID Cards protect us from terrorism.
It's a gross infringement of our civil liberties to be obliged to participate in such a scheme (which is what is happening by stealth). Economically it's already costing the nation billions of pounds which we can ill afford and the costs have been rising since the scheme was first mooted. I have spoken to one pensioner on the topic who said that she's not spending a large portion or her pension on having a card and would rather go to jail. She had an ID card during the war and knows what a national emergency really is.
The very best of luck in your campaign.
Stephen Ladyman (Lab. Thanet South)
Identity cards are being rolled out to foreign nationals in the UK at the present time and are not compulsory for UK citizens. UK citizens can voluntarily apply for one when the roll-out programme reaches their area.
The rationale behind the UK Identity programme is that we wish to (the following bullets are from the Home Office web site)
* help protect people from identity fraud and theft
* ensure that people are who they say they are
* tackle illegal working and immigration abuse
* disrupt the use of false and multiple identities by criminals and those involved in terrorist activity
* ensure free public services are only used by those entitled to them
* enable easier access to public services
It seems to me that all the above are laudable aims especially since identity theft is now a real risk for people and that illegal working and abuise of immigration rules are a major concern with people. I would encourage anyone who has concerns about them to look at the official sources of information at the following link: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Governmentcitizensandrights/Identitycards/index.htm
rather than relying on third party views of what they are and what they are not.
Michael Britton (Lab. Thanet North)
Unlike the other parties, we have made an effort to make sure we place controls on immigration, I draw your attention to our Manifesto and the items covering the subject.
I am a Candidate of the Labour Party and as such I am required to support my Party in Government, as the Government they have to make decisions based on many components Your question is very simple, yet the issue is very complexed, one has to asked why not, most citizens in the UK have to have some form of identification. this is an extension of that process.
Laura Sandys (Con. Thanet South)
As you know I have campaigned locally against ID Cards. But my opposition started from the moment that it was first muted by the Labour Government. I am also against the raft of legislation that allows all the snooping that goes on - there are now 1,242 pieces of legislation public servants can use to enter homes, including powers to search for unregulated hypnotists, a dancing bear without a permit, bovine semen or a fridge with the wrong energy rating.
I have been campaigning against the erosion of our civil liberties long before I was selected as a candidate and will continue to do so whatever the result here in South Thanet. I have worked closely with Henry Porter and Anthony Barnett on the Convention for Modern Liberty that was also hosted by NO2ID and can assure you that on all these issues you have a strong supporter.
Thanks to the above candidates for responding. Candidates who have not thus far responded but would like to say something can leave a comment.