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UK Government rejects Blair’s call for digital ID cards to help control migration

07 Jul 2024 2 minute read
Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper. Photo Maja Smiejkowska/PA Wire

The Government has ruled out the introduction of digital ID cards after former premier Sir Tony Blair called for the documents to help control migration.

Sir Tony, who championed ID cards when he was in office only for the idea to be killed off after Labour lost power, said the world was moving to a digital form of the document.

Business Secretary Jonathan Reynolds initially said Home Secretary Yvette Cooper would look at “all sources of advice” on the issue.

Sources close to Ms Cooper said ID cards were not Labour policy and that has not changed, with Mr Reynolds later publicly ruling them out.

‘Game-changer’

Writing in the Sunday Times, Sir Tony said: “The only game-changer is the full embrace of the potential of technology.”

He added: “We need a plan to control immigration. If we don’t have rules, we get prejudices.

“In office, I believed the best solution was a system of identity so that we know precisely who has a right to be here.

“With, again, technology, we should move as the world is moving to digital ID. If not, new border controls will have to be highly effective.”

Mr Reynolds told Sky News’s Sunday Morning With Trevor Phillips: “The new Home Secretary will be looking at all sources of advice when it comes to that.

“But I would just say we have backed the points-based immigration system, we made difficult decisions, particularly when we thought legal migration was too high and it has to come down.”

Pressed again on ID cards he said: “Well look, my colleague Yvette Cooper and the rest of the home affairs team will be looking at all sorts of things.

“I’m not going to pre-empt things they may or may not want to do.”

Mr Reynolds later told Times Radio: “We can rule that out, that’s not something that’s part of our plans.”


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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
7 days ago

Tony, Mandy and Straw…Patel, Braverman and Badenough…Sunak, Dowden and Booth-Smith…They say it comes in threes…

A.Redman
A.Redman
7 days ago

Is this the same Yvette Cooper who publicly stated that she would offer a home to child refugees? When asked how it was going,she said that she was not qualified enough to do that! What makes people think that she will be able to control the number of “illegal immigrants” arriving in this country? She and her Labour colleagues have blocked any attempt at controlling the situation when in opposition! Together with all the Human Rights Lawyers,funded by the public .Why carrying any form of identity is not being considered is beyond belief. Welcome to Labour UK! No doubt the… Read more »

John Powers
John Powers
7 days ago
Reply to  A.Redman

We know Labour can reduce asylum claims because they’ve done it before. This is from a House of Common briefing paper:

“The number of asylum applications to the UK peaked in 2002 at 84,132. After
that the number fell sharply to reach a twenty-year low point of 17,916 in
2010, before rising slowly to reach 32,733 in 2015. The number fell, then rose
again and then dipped during the first year of the pandemic (2020). In then
rose to 81,130 in 2022, the highest number since 2002”.

Johnny Gamble
Johnny Gamble
7 days ago
Reply to  A.Redman

You can’t blame anyone for loosing control of the UK Borders except the Tories, they have had 14 years to address this issue and have failed abysmally.
It’s ironic that people who have strong feelings about immigration fail to mention The Dublin agreement on illegal immigration.
Didn’t they always say that leaving the EU would put an end to large scale immigration.

Blinedig
Blinedig
7 days ago
Reply to  Johnny Gamble

So many of those who have strong feelings about the desperate souls escaping unimaginable horrors probably read the tabloid press. Maybe set Mail readers adrift instead in small boats. Problem solved. If ever there was one.

John Powers
John Powers
7 days ago

We don’t need a completely new ID system. Just bring back and modernise the National Insurance card.

Howie
Howie
7 days ago
Reply to  John Powers

NI card issued from 16yo will realistically need to move to photo id to curb some of the abuses of it now.
Having had to use an ID card since late 60’s and parts of UK has had to have photo ID for some years I have no bother with it, as do a large chunk of people in UK with some sort of public sector, company or membership id.

jimmy
jimmy
7 days ago

If an ID card was going to be used to check the residency status of any person, then it follows the Police would be given the right to demand your identity at any time or place, without any indication or suspicion of a crime or potential crime being committed. The whole thing would be pointless if that were not the case.

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