Labour is considering reviving Tony Blair’s aborted policy of introducing ID cards to help reduce ‘illegal immigration’. The party is, according to Stephen Kinnock, looking “very, very carefully indeed” at an identity card scheme to reassure the public that “we have control of our borders”. He told Times Radio this morning that “they should certainly be on the table” although the shadow immigration minister added that the idea “needs to be properly reviewed”. He described concerns over infringement of civil liberties as “very valid” and said “any review and policy development on this would have to be based on really close consultation with civil liberties groups”.
It is 20 years since New Labour consulted on a proposal for mandatory ID cards under David Blunkett, the then Home Secretary. The plans proved controversial then, and they will no doubt be controversial now. Under the plans being explored, everyone would apply for registration while the data stored would be limited to address those civil liberties concerns. Kinnock said this morning : “One of the reasons that this fell down under a previous Labour government was I think they ended up trying to put too much information into these ID cards… Rather than going for an all singing, all dancing – just something very simple and basic, as just a very basic form of ID because that then doesn’t get you into areas of civil liberties as much.”
Meanwhile, Rishi Sunak is under increasing pressure to sack Gavin Williamson after fresh allegations emerged overnight. The Guardian has reported that a senior civil servant claimed that the minister told them to “slit your throat”, while he was Defence Secretary, amid what they described as a sustained campaign of bullying. The civil servant also alleged that Williamson told them to “jump out of the window” on a separate occasion and said the minister “deliberately demeaned and intimidated” them on a regular basis. Labour’s Anneliese Dodds described the reports as “extremely serious” and warned of a “toxic culture” at the top of the Tory Party, adding: “Here again we see the grubby deal made by Rishi Sunak to put party management over the national interest.”
And the opposition is not letting up on the row sparked by Sunak’s other grubby leadership deal. The party will use an opposition day motion to attempt to force the release of advice given to Sunak on Suella Braverman’s reappointment as Home Secretary. Labour’s motion will call on the government to share with parliament or the intelligence and security committee the relevant government security and risk assessments regarding the Home Secretary’s alleged leaks and security lapses, and reveal the information given to the Prime Minister before her reappointment. Stay tuned for updates. Sign up to LabourList’s morning email for everything Labour, every weekday morning.