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Lord Lyell of Markyate: My noble friend Lady Anelay raised an extremely important point. I shall be interested to hear how the Government respond to the use of the term "legally". Most of the names and the methods of naming people that have been referred to
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are certainly not illegal. Therefore, the word "legally" in itself does not add a great deal of clarification, but it rightly points up the issue.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I have—

Noble Lords: Oh!

Lord Bassam of Brighton: Yes, it is me—sod's law. I have enjoyed this rather entertaining thrash round the issue of names, and important points have emerged from it. I was musing that in conversations in my house I can be known as dad, Old Joe, Steve, John, the noble Lord and so on, so there is a problem here.

Lord Phillips of Sudbury: If that is all the noble Lord is referred to as, his is a very respectful family.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: My brief does not provide me with a response to that point. However, this is a serious point and I shall do my best to answer it. As the noble Baroness explained, this is a probing amendment. However, if we were to accept it as it stands, it would remove the ability to register other names or aliases, previous names, informal or stage names which have not been "legally" changed, although the noble and learned Lord, Lord Lyell, made a valid point in that regard. We have very good reasons for resisting the amendments as regards both customer convenience and the prevention of fraud.

The difficulty with the amendments is that there is—as has been rightly pointed out—no definition of a legal change of name. Although some individuals use a deed poll for that purpose by no means all do so. A significant number of people merely change their name informally. I suppose that is what noble Lords do in their various guises. The register has been designed to be flexible and to accommodate the fact that a number of people use more than one name. Harry Webb, for example, might be a little perturbed that he cannot be known on the register as Cliff Richard just because he has chosen to use a stage name. As the noble Lord, Lord Phillips, observed, I believe on Second Reading, and as has been said today, many Members of this House are known by more than one name or, indeed, title. Of course, it is not intended that nicknames or family names of endearment should be recorded on the register—so I am lucky there—and it might be embarrassing if they were. We need to apply a common-sense touch here. We need to record the names that people use in interactions in their day-to-day life in the outside world. Naturally, an indecent name would not be acceptable as an alias.

Amendment No. 83 would have a detrimental effect on preventing fraud. Identity fraud is a serious problem and can occur when people frequently change their name and address in rapid succession in order to steal an identity or to create a new and/or fictional one. Currently, there is no reliable way to trace how often a person changes his or her name. The ID card scheme could go some way to provide this extra security. The recording of previous names on the national identity
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register is useful in terms of the convenience of those who are registered—customer convenience. For example, if an individual gets married or just decides to change their name, and wishes to amend their record on the NIR, organisations will be able to verify the individual against their maiden name or old name or their new name. That is far more secure than a simple marriage certificate, which is not a proof of identity and is capable of forgery, and much better than the deed poll process where there is absolutely no assurance that you are the person on the deed poll.

In practice we intend to ask people as a matter of policy to provide a principal name that they are known by for all purposes—the name that they use commonly in the world at large, particularly with public and private sector organisations.

This is passport policy, which works well, and matches the aim to get people to provide a name that they use consistently in their relationship with government bodies.

In response to the noble Baroness, Lady Carnegy of Lour, I think that we have consulted the Registrar General and those to whom we need to talk about names on registers. To clear up the point, I shall drop the noble Baroness a note to ensure that we have done so. I would be sad if we had not because it seems an obvious thing to have done. We have consulted fairly widely, and the approach that we have adopted should work.

The Earl of Onslow: Is the Minister confirming that this is really a greater method than we had before of controlling people and finding out who they are? In other words, it is exactly what Mr Hacker was saying in his television sketch two years ago. I am grateful for his confirmation.

Lord Selsdon: Will the Minister consider my point that if people have a passport the name that should be used is the one in the passport? Otherwise, people will have dual identity.

Lord Bassam of Brighton: We want people to use the same name as that in the passport as that would make sense. I said that passport policy is that people should use the name in their passport, which is the name that they commonly use in everyday business. That is a sensible way to approach things.

Lord Lyell of Markyate: I apologise for extending the debate but it is a difficult issue. Those who look in the Law Reports will find a case, Lyell v Lyell in relation to the 1997 general election. A vexatious litigant came to live in my constituency and changed his name by deed poll to Sir Nicholas Walter Lyell. He sought to fight me in the constituency using my name to cause confusion. Fortunately an injunction was issued to prevent it, but none the less he had changed his name by deed poll and was so known. However,
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there is a happy wrinkle because when his name appeared on the electoral register there was a misprint, and it came out as Sid Nicholas Walter Lyell.

Lord Ackner: I still have not understood the position. Perhaps I may give a well known example. One of my brother judges, Lord Justice Purchas, was always known as Bob Purchas, although his proper name was Francis Purchas. He is no longer with us so there is a certain academic influence in my question, but how would the Bill cope with that situation?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I shall try to pin it down. In those circumstances the person should register as Francis, but he could also provide the name Bob to the national identity register. We are clear that the name on the passport will be same as on the ID card. The name used for the purpose of registration is the name that people commonly use in their everyday business. We think that that makes perfectly good sense, and I am sure that that will be the case in practice, as with passports.

The Countess of Mar: Will the noble Lord confirm that those issuing the passports will understand the name that we wish to use, and that the computers will be programmed to accept those names?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I am sure that that will be the case. I hesitate to say it, but I believe that the passport service is one of the most efficient and effective IT-based organisations in the UK. It has a tremendous reputation, and many of your Lordships would attest to that. History shows that it had some difficulties, but I am convinced that it will work well. The same approach that is used by the passport service will work for ID cards.

The Earl of Onslow: The Minister said to the noble and learned Lord, Lord Ackner, that his fellow judge, the late Francis Purchas, would have to put down "Bob". The noble Lord earlier said that we do not have to put down nicknames. So where do nicknames come, and where do shortened names come? Where is the dividing line? He has, in effect, given two mutually exclusive answers.

Lord Lucas: Am I right in understanding that one has to put down the name of one's choice, that other names are entirely voluntary and there is no compulsion to put down all the names that one is known by?

Lord Bassam of Brighton: I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, because I think he understands the situation well.

Lord Stoddart of Swindon: The Minister said, quite reasonably, that the name should follow the name on a passport. There is a problem with that, however, because not everybody has a passport. What do we say to those people? That they should put the name on the national identity register that they would use on a
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passport if they applied for one? It gets very difficult. I am still worried about the basis of legality. I do not want the right of people who want to be known by a different name, perhaps every year, to have that right removed.

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