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You know all the press coverage about ID cards and combating terrorism -
just follow the exchange below.
3 Jul 2002 : Column 231
Mr. Chris Mullin (Sunderland, South): I welcome the Home Secretary's
assurance that there will be no compulsion, and acknowledge that there
are some obvious benefits. May I ask my right hon. Friend, first,
whether he accepts that it is for those who are in favour of the card to
make out the case for it, not the other way round? Secondly, will he
confirm that the card will be little or no use in combating terrorism?
Thirdly, given the unhappy history-I put this as gently as I can-of
Government information technology projects, are we not entitled to be
sceptical about some of the claims made for the card?
Mr. Blunkett: I can say yes to all three. Yes, I agree that those who
wish to develop an alternative and simpler system to the multiplicity of
cards must make the case. Yes, I agree that it is important to recognise
the past failures of Government technology systems, which is why the
massive update of the UK Passport Service and now of the Driver and
Vehicle Licensing Agency currently taking place should take account of
any potential for the future. Yes, I accept that it is important that we
do not pretend that an entitlement card would be an overwhelming factor
in combating international terrorism. That is precisely what I said
three times on the radio within a fortnight of 11 September, and I
reiterated it this afternoon.
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