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The Minister for Immigration, Citizenship and Nationality (Mr. Tony McNulty): I agree with the hon. and learned Member for Harborough (Mr. Garnier) that there were 33 speeches; his sort of made 34. May I also say that we can now, with some degree of confidence, rule him out of the forthcoming leadership election?
There were a range of speeches, which were in the main well tempered and good-humoured. I am grateful to the House for a debate in which Members expressed a range of views about details in the Bill and details that are yet to be subject to parliamentary discussion. I make no apology for repeating that this is enabling legislation. There is much still to be done in terms of detail, regulations and all the other elements.
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I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) on his consistency, at least, in being opposed to ID cards; I have no difficulty with his position.
The hon. Member for Winchester (Mr. Oaten) needs to be slightly more careful in what he says, because some of the points that he made raised obtuseness to a fine art. The notion that, even if we got to the stage where cards were used for public service entitlements, a woman who chose to have a termination would be in fear of that data being on the database is ludicrous in the extreme and unbecoming of the hon. Gentleman. His point about e-documents shows no understanding of what we are doing in terms of e-borders and the legislation that will be implemented in full by 2008.
My hon. Friend the Member for Knowsley, North and Sefton, East (Mr. Howarth) said that the project is feasible. I agree, of course, that there are further issues to be addressed; that was a theme throughout.
The right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) said that the provision is intrusive and that he disagrees with it. He made more or less the same speech as he has made for the past four years, to no avail.
My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Selly Oak (Lynne Jones) made a very impressive speech on costs and technology suggesting that the items that we have put forward do not stack up. I simply do not agree with her in that regard, but we can have more debate on that matter.
The hon. Member for Belfast, East (Mr. Robinson) made a measured and tempered speech. The Bill does not refer in any way to foreigners or foreign Governments, but the answer to his real concern is that the Bill does not permit information to be disclosed except in the specific circumstances clearly set out in the Bill. The relevant authorities include the police, security services and UK Government Departments. Other UK public authorities may be added by order, but only public authorities under the Human Rights Act 1998that is, only UK authorities. The Bill allows information to be passed to law enforcement authorities overseas, but only in the case of serious crime. That is not a new power but a replication of powers that are already in the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.
There is no power in the Bill to provide information to other Governments, including the Government of the Republic of Ireland. The measure contains no power to add other Governments by Order.
I congratulate the three maiden speakers. I am sad that time does not allow me to go into more detail about what they said, but all three spoke eloquently, and with a good deal of generosity about their predecessors, for which I am grateful.
I am sorry that my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, South (Mr. Harris) was a victim of identity fraud but he showed clearly how the application registration cardARCfor asylum seekers can be used well.
I am pleased that my hon. Friend the Member for Hampstead and Highgate (Glenda Jackson) does not regard the Home Secretary as a snake oil salesman or a huckster. I am grateful for those comments. She is right that, in the past, there has been a great deal of
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overselling of the case for the card and all it can do. It can help and supplement but it cannot deal with terrorism in the way in which it was suggested the Government claimed[Interruption.]
Mr. Speaker: Order. The House must come to order.
Mr. McNulty: My hon. Friend the Member for Walthamstow (Mr. Gerrard), in his wisdom, made a telling contribution. I am sure that we shall discuss his comments in full subsequently.
The hon. Member for Ashford (Damian Green) made a speech.
My hon. Friend the Member for South Derbyshire (Mr. Todd) made a fair speech, which was rooted in detail and dealt with some aspects of the benefits, to which we shall revert.
The hon. Member for Stone (Mr. Cash) mentioned Orwell and Lincolnthose were the highlights of his contribution.
I fear that my hon. Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Dr. Palmer) managed to support the hon. Member for Winchester on identity cards.
My hon. and learned Friend the Member for Medway (Mr. Marshall-Andrews) was wrong in his supposition that there will be an open book for adding data to the database. Clauses 1, 3 and 43 and schedule 1 make that clear. To suggest that DNA, health records, criminal records or other medical records can be included is plumb wrong.
The hon. Member for Lancaster and Wyre (Mr. Wallace) probably condemned himself to the Committee given his experience.
One of the most irresponsible contributions was made by the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone). She spoke about DNAshe was wrong. She spoke about the impact on ethic minoritiesshe was wrong. The Bill is rooted in existing legislation on race relations, race discrimination and other matters.
I say in all candour to my right hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Denham) that, despite the agreement, if the prevailing wisdom of the usual channels is that there should be more time in Committee to scrutinise the Bill, let us have that discussion. The Government will be generous in their response. The deal was done, but if more time is required, let us talk about it. I have no problem with that.
My hon. Friend the Member for Hackney, North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott) is right that an election took place only two months ago. We stood collectively on a manifesto that stated:
"We will introduce ID cards, including biometric data like fingerprints, backed up by a national register and rolling out initially on a voluntary basis as people renew their passports."
That is at the heart of the Bill.
I say again to my right hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen that we are already involved in some pre-procurement discussions. If that needs to be more open and if we can make it more open before we go through the EU process, I will try to ensure that that happens.
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My hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Kali Mountford) made a point about concessions. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary said that we would reconsider the fee structure, concessions and other assorted elements.
The Bill is an enabling measure. Its purpose is to protect the individual's identity, not suppress the individual. It does not propose a plastic poll tax and is not tantamount to an attack on civil liberties. There is much to be done and I commend the Bill to the House.
Lynne Jones (Birmingham, Selly Oak) (Lab): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment. I shall be voting against Second Reading instead.
Question put, That the Bill be now read a Second time:
The House divided: Ayes 314, Noes 283.
Mr. Heath: On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. You and the whole House will have heard the Home Secretary, in response to an intervention from the hon. Member for South Staffordshire (Sir Patrick Cormack)the Minister of State repeated the point later in his perorationsay that the Government would consider the Bill's committal to either a Special Standing Committee or a Joint Committee. Would it be in order for the Government to withdraw their programme motion, and am I correct in saying that under Standing Order No. 63, it would be perfectly in order to put down an alternative motion of committal, without notice, this evening? Has there been any indication that that will take place?
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