Wednesday, October 19, 2005

UK: Labour government survives ID card rebellion

In the long-going affair of national ID card legislation in the United Kingdom (see previous entries here, here, here, and here), the Labour government yesterday managed to get the House of Commons to pass its bill. However, due to a substantial rebellion by its own MPs, it did so with a substantially reduced majority: MPs gave the flagship ID Cards Bill a third reading by 309 votes to 284, a majority of just 25 (the lowest since the general election). See the reports by the BBC and by Spy Blog.

It would seem that no major concessions were won by rebels in the committee stage of the bill, but that Home Secretary Clark responded to worries about the price of ID cards by indicating that they would cost £ 30, which is substantially lower than previous figures that had been given by both the government and its opponents (see the previous entries on this topic).

The bill will now go forward to the House of Lords where resistance will likely be substantial. But since the ID card bill was included in the Labour Party manifesto for the general election in May 2005, it would seem unlikely under the Salisbury Convention that the Upper Chamber would move to block it.