back to article ID cards not compulsory after all, says Home Office

Plans to make ID cards compulsory for UK citizens at some point in the middle distance have been officially abandoned, apparently. According to the Home Office's revised counter-terrorism strategy document, published today, "It is not our intention that identity cards should be mandatory for UK nationals." This in some senses …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Elephant and it's pink

    Even the Police in a recent report have expressed concern that if ID cards are not made compulsory the benefits won't be realised.

    It's an all or nothing case, either we get them and they're mandatory, or we don't have them at all.

    The government clearly hasn't got a clue what it's doing. The whole thing is a pink elephant.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    So, quick question...

    My passport is due for renewal within three years. I had planned to say bugger it, after all, you do not technically need it for travelling in EU. However, if I were to renew say this year or next, what would actually be collected and stored?

    Paris, cause at least we know what is recorded of hers...

  3. General A. Annoying

    What the fuck is the difference?

    Compulsory ID Card


    Compulsory Passport

    The real problem, as you say, is the database.

    That, and the word "compulsory".

  4. Anonymous Coward


    Don't believe a word of it. These slimy fuckers will do everything they can to weasel their way through the maze until one way or another they've got us all on their databases. Whether it's ID cards, mandatory passports, entitlement cards or whatever else, they think that as long as they can try and obfuscate the fact that the cards, in whatever form, don't matter and it's the database they really want, they won't stop until they are made to, by voting them out of office.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Database, not the card

    So they're not going to issue us with another pointless bit of plastic that wouldn't survive the hammer blow or brief stint in the microwave that mine would "accidentally" endure.

    That doesn't stop the fact that the real insidious issue is the NIR, not the card itself.

  6. Ray

    i will be getting a new passport

    in 2010.

  7. The BigYin
    Thumb Down

    No change needed

    Once the cards exist they will become compulsory in fact, if not in law. All this stuff from the government about the cards not being compulsory is utter twaddle.

    Want to open a bank account? You'll need an ID card as the banks use that to cut costs.

    Want to open get a load? You'll need an ID card as the banks use that to cut costs.

    Want to get insurance? You'll need an ID card as the companies use that to cut costs.

    And so on.

    Yes there will be other methods of identification, but using them will become onerous (and probably add costs) so people will become compelled to have an ID card or (effectively) become a non-person.

    We do not need ID cards, we do not need the ID database; there is nothing to fear. All we need are our MPs brought to book over their dodgy dealings and our police kept in check. That's it. Nothing more.

  8. Justin Case

    Gone today, here tomorrow

    That's what happens under Nu-Lab. If there's too much hoo-hah they pretend to bury it, then bring it back when everybody's focussed on something else.

  9. b
    Paris Hilton


    the database?

  10. Wokstation

    What do you mean I can't have...

    ...x, y or z without an ID card? The government said I didn't have to have one!

    Oh I see, I get to choose not to have x, y, z, therefore it's a choice! Of course!

    I trust governments with using, securing and maintaining databases about as far as I could throw John Prescott.

  11. breakfast

    On the upside...

    The good news is that I renewed my passport a couple of months ago, so this is not my problem for another ten years or so. By which point I'm sure that we'll be living in a paradise of freedom and civil rights. And by "we" I mean people who have emigrated to a paradise of freedom and civil rights, which relative to the Britain of ten years time will probably be Saudi Arabia...

  12. Nebulo
    Thumb Down


    Passport? All countries seem to use 'em, no great shakes.

    ID Card? Well, if some saddo doesn't know who he is, let him buy one.


    What part of "We Do Not Want Your Obscenely Intrusive Database" do these cretins not understand?

    0/10. Will be expelled next year.

  13. Keir Snelling
    Black Helicopters

    Their strategy can be seen in effect right now.

    We're being prepared to accept their new ID card plans, and whatever other gross infringement on our liberties they can think of, right now.

    I trust every else has noticed the uplift in threat propaganda over the last couple of days. 60,000 people trained to spot potential terry wrists. Waqui scaring us all to death with more stories of dirty bombs. Hoax bomb threats on airliners. Football grounds evacuated because of suspect packages.

    I expect there will be some full scale security shenanigans with a large civic area put on ultra high alert before the end of the week. Then, once the public have been suitably softened into thinking we're really under siege, along will come the next batch of freedom restricting legislation.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    The point of contention remains the same

    Why log the nations biometric infomation in a central database, the argument remains the same.

    If my personal details become released into the public domain due to its biometric nature I am unable to claim new details. Already certain MP's have had their fingerprint information posted in public forums, all this will do is further destablise an already weak plan.

    Human checks will always remain more reliable than any automated system so if they want to increase safety add more human checks. Since were in a recession with jobs being axed daily it shoudnt be hard to pick up some appropriately skilled staff.

    Fed up with this damn state and the govt pushing procedures the country doesnt want.

  15. Rob Crawford

    6 years till

    I need to renew my passport, I guess this time around I will be getting an Irish passport.

    For the 1st time in my life I have derived some benefit from being born in Belfast.

    But how long until renewing your driving licence involves signing up for an ID card :(

  16. Dave

    @Justin Case

    Or, they purposefully create something else to distract and then slip in what they previously backed down on.

    Or they keep bringing up the same thing, with slightly different wording, and blungeon people down through repetition and boredom.


    Yup, basically anything to get their own way. *sigh* Modern politics: it's not about the people, it's about the gravy train and how deep they can bury their snouts in the trough of public money.

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Foreigner terrorists

    How is a mandatory ID card in the UK going to stop foreign terrorists? They won't have the cards.

  18. MinionZero

    The ID card people did call in the PR marketing team to give them some PR smoke screens.

    Since they called in the marketing people to make ID cards more acceptable, I guess this is what the marketing people told them.

    (1)... identity card, a passport or both

    A passport is an identity card for traveling, so its still an identity card and its still linked to the same data. So its just a warm fuzzy feeling name for an ID card. So its a PR smoke screen to not call it a ID card. They could just paint the card white for ID card and Red for passport, its still the same card and still the same Big Brother intentions and system behind it all.

    (2)... ID cards not compulsory.

    Frankly thats utter PR marketing Bullshit for, its not compulsory (yet) ... until ... (wait for ID cards to fade from public radar view) ... we then slowly integrate ID cards into this area and that area, and give it to this few people here and that few people there and over time, it becomes ever more central, ever more necessary for every day life, until you can do little without having an ID card. Then they win. They get what they originally intended. ID cards for everyone.

    This is absolutely no change of stance on ID cards. Its simply a marketing makeover to gloss over their long term goals. Then anyone who accuses them of their long term goals gets this PR marketing crap thrown at them to say, hey but look, the government has changes its goals with the ID cards.

    They haven't changes anything. This is simply a way to gain public acceptance (more to the point public acquiescence) until there is no choice but to accept the ruling elites wishes on the matter, so they can keep an ever closer eye on us all. They have got very good at avoiding opposition to their wishes. The problem is, regardless of which group of self-righteous, close minded plutocrats get into power next, we have no one who can protect us from the wishes of the ruling elite plutocrats.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'd be fractionally more at ease if the comment was that the intention is for cards not to be compulsory, than to say it is not the intention that they become compulsory.

    But I'd be much happier if they agreed to scrap this whole control freak show altogether, and pay for the wasted expense out of their own pockets rather than burden the taxpayer with the costs of their hobbyhorse.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The Joys of Dual Nationality

    Due to recent ancestry, I am in the fortunate position of being able to claim a second nationality. So, rather than renew my out-of-date passport, I can claim my other nationality and get a new, foreign passport that way. And then I can escape from this growing police state, to Australia!

    Oh, wait...

  21. Sam Liddicott

    Save me!

    God forbid, but this makes me wonder if we actually need terrorists to save us from the government.

    Where's superman when we need him? Don't say *I* have to stand up and be Spartacus!


  22. This post has been deleted by its author

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nobody been jobhunting recently?

    Hasn't anyone realised employers are asking to see passports, as proof of eligibility to work? There are other proofs, but a passport is simple. NuLab has been setting up the national Big Brother House for years.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Of course it's not compulsory

    It's just required.

    I've got mine somewhere in my coat here.....

  25. Anonymous Coward

    @Sam Liddicott

    I believe the guy you're looking for is a certain Mr. Fawkes...

  26. Graham Marsden

    "It is not our intention..."

    ... does not mean "we will not..."

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Compulsory for what?

    Whilst in Singapore a few years back, I idly glanced at the doco for a loyalty card scheme at some random cafe I visited. To sign up required ... your Singapore ID card (number)!

  28. Guy Herbert

    @ AC 13:42

    "My passport is due for renewal within three years. I had planned to say bugger it, after all, you do not technically need it for travelling in EU."

    HMG appears to be planning to change that. See the partial draft Immigration and Citizenship Bill issued at the end of last year for consultation - not to be confused with the Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Bill currently before the house - under which your right to enter or leave the country as a British citizen would be made subject to your proving you were a British citizen by producing either a passport or an ID card.

    What's collected by the IPS for passports can be cahnged at any time, but it appears that there is currently little new information requested of *renewers* as oppposed to first-time applicants or those who have lost or damaged their passports. The only addition I've spotted is they now want the *Passport numbers* of your referees. They'll also conduct the equivalent of a credit check behind your back to check you have a credit record, and thus some civil existence.

    So renew your passport just before you move house for preference, and choose your referees carefully.

  29. RW
    Thumb Down

    They're lying

    I'm quite sure the plans have simply been moved to a secure back office where they are out of sight.

    NuLab has lied so many times about so many things that no sensible person believes a thing they or their minions say anymore. Perhaps the party should display a little honesty just this once and rename itself "the Liar Party".

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They've fatally undermined their own scheme

    Under EU law, a member state can't impose a requirement on resident EU citizens that it doesn't impose on its own citizens. So it doesn't matter to EU residents if they make passports "compulsory" because EU citizens' passports will be issued by their own state and so they won't be on the National Identity Register.

    The Republic of Ireland regards (nearly) all those born in Ireland, North or South, and their children as its citizens, and will grant citizenship to those with Irish-born grandparents. IIRC something like 10% of the population of the UK (including my missus) falls into those categories.

    What's more, a large proportion of the population of Northern Ireland disagree with being part of the UK. I should imagine that a large proportion of them choose to only hold an Irish passport. How is the government going to make them get a "compulsory" British passport (i.e. who gets to tell Gerry Adams to get one)?

    And not to mention that sadly once again we are seeing a terrorist threat from hard-line Northern Irish republicans, none of whom will be caught up in the NIR.

    Remind me again what it's supposed to be for?

    Can we have an icon of someone slapping their palm to their forehead please?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    off topic- but only 1948....

    >>So in the unlikely event of New Labour and Smith (majority 1,948).....

    i didnt realise her majority was so small - best news i have seen in days... - come on people, thats got to be do-able...

    please please, people of redditch, they whole country will thankyou if you use your vote wisely at the next election and send her to her overpaid mp pension or whatever.....

    I just prey that happens we get someone who listens to the people rather than scaremongering just to aquire more power over the people.... and is less head-strong.

    being determined is only of benefit when pointing in the right direction - this government has become deeply regressive

    AC - im at work at the moment..

  32. JMB

    ID cards

    Everyone knows the police will make them compulsory whatever the government say. If you don't have one then they will arrest you as suspicious and hold you until you prove who you are. The police are out of control and do not bother about what Parliament or the courts say.

  33. David Hicks
    Thumb Down

    I don't have to renew until 2016

    And I'm hoping to be out of the country by the end of this year anyway.

    Up yours labour, and goodbye rainy old England.

  34. Richard Porter

    All illegal immigrants...

    should be given ID cards on entry to the country. Obvious really.

  35. Maurice Shakeshaft

    Who wants these cards and why - really!

    Is this drive for a National ID database and cards a creature of Politicians, Civil Servants or the Police or a permutation???

    I can't see the politicians really wanting such an Allbatros or White Elephant wrapped round their neck come the General Election so I must conclude that some very strong lobbying has gone on and the CS or Police are the real puppeteers.

    The declared reasons for having a NIDB and NIDC have all but been destroyed. Today in the papers we were treated to yet more hysterics about terrorist threats and people training & prep. What is really going on. Can someone from the groups that purport to "lead" us please fess up!

    Now, I've asked nicely several times so please don't continue to treat me like a moron. I'm a taxpaying, signed up, UK subject - ooopps, I am a moron.

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Don't worry about the database..

    Me and few of my pals from Romania have our own plans to deal with that. All I can say now is it won't take more than a week to fix after it goes live. I don't think it's at all optimistic to say we should be able to pick up at least a dozen laptops civil servants will leave lying around in that time frame.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Which world are we in again?

    I've got to get out of this 3rd world country...

    Or, alternatively, start an epic conquest of the country by rallying the masses under a single united banner of non-schoolchild-ness (except for the schoolchildren of course, they should just do as they're told...). I'll start with Scotland - they hate the bloody sassenachs' ID card even more than the bloody sassenachs.

    Mine's the one with the Overlord badge on it - please hail.

  38. Anonymous Coward

    That will effectively be a complete load of t055 then

    May never be compulsory unless......that is you need a job, or need to pay tax, get an NI number or get a driving licence or get benefits.

    From getting a library book to paying for postage stamps you can bet there will be a host of new laws enacated (probably without reference to Parilamentary voting) that WILL require an ID card to do almost everything.

    Back door stealth compulsion thats how they will do it.

    And remember folks we need all your data to protect you from a bearded feckwit in a cave in the ar5e end of nowhere and his merry band of UK based feckwits. Honest trust us we're the Gov would we lie?

    Cromwell said that he had a 'Parliament of whores' some things just don't change so they.

    Obligatory Mandleson knocking up the 'Back Door' Joke omitted.

    No2id I signed up and I'd urge you lot to consider it.

  39. Estariel

    The green is not greener....

    You guys crack me up.

    Wailing about "Labour" this and "Waqui" that. And wishing for a quick election.

    As if the Conservatives would actually be any better!!!!

    Are you just all too young to remember how it went last time those crooks were in charge?

    How do you imagine that bLiar and Brown got elected in the first place!! Because the Conservatives were even worse!!

  40. Peter Kay

    Travelling in the EU *does* require a passport if you're a British citizen

    The fact it is not always checked does not remove this fact.

    Of course, people from other EU countries can travel without a passport. This is because they have ID cards..

  41. Anonymous Coward

    It won;t stop terrorism but it will allow them to control your access to services and travel

    Which has always been the point.

    The plan is two fold; 1) Positively identify people so they cannot claim multiple Social services (it was originally a DSS entitlement card if you've been following the story) 2) Track people identified by the government (small 'G') as 'subversive' or 'differently political' so it is possible to stop them working, traveling, associating, obtaining positions of influence.

    You could suggest that the latter is anti-terror related but so far the record on identifying those people before they blow up tube trains full of people has been, shall we say a "little weak". More likely that it will be back to the old whitehall game of persecuting pinko commie fag subversives. NB: Stephen Fry is on Twitter chaps

  42. TeeCee Gold badge
    Thumb Down

    Translation service:

    "It is not our intention that identity cards should be mandatory for UK nationals."

    Translates as:

    "It is the intention of the Police, MI5, The Home Secretary, The Prime Minister, Waitrose, the NHS, Battersea Dog's Home, the EU, that bloke called Fred we met down the pub..............."

  43. Eponymous Cowherd
    Black Helicopters

    Noooo, not compulsory at all....

    You won't be able to get a job, claim benefits, open a bank account, get a mortgage, rent a house, buy a car or leave this shit-hole of a country without one, but they won't *actually* be compulsory.

    So, fine, if you don't mind living in a cardboard box under the local motorway flyover and either starving to death or begging for/ stealing food.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I remember the Conservatives. I'll be voting for the Liberal Democrats.

    Please don't be so quick to jump to conclusions about us.

  45. Jimmy

    @ Estariel

    Sorry to hear about you cracking up, mate. Can I recommend that you apply some NuLabour Soothing Balm with its ingredients of honeyed words, fragrant blatant lies, a whisper of disinformation, and a teasing piquancy of avarice, greed and self-interest.

    The Health and Safety leaflet enclosed with the product includes a list of more than 600 MPs who can attest to the beneficial effects this relaxing and healing balm has had on their personal well-being. The product will be widely available until the next general election. Apply sparingly.

    Estariel, we know perfectly well that you couldn't slide a fag-paper between the policies of Labour and the Tories. The next election isn't about policies, my friend, its about Crime and Punishment.

  46. Mikko Kaarela

    What's the problem with you folks?

    Here in Finland, every time I pay a purchase of 50 euros or more I need to show a proof of ID and the credit card-sized ID is the most convenient document fot that purpose. This protect my rights as it makes use of stolen payment cards less easy. No, it's not mandatory, just convenient - also as a passport replacement across the European Economic Area (including Switzerland, Iceland and even UK).

    On top of that, the national ID number helps to verify my address etc. much better than recent gas or electricity bills and things like cashing social security benefits in a number of municipalities is here unheard of.

    Of course, I could run around with my passport, but the little card is always i nmy wallet.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Mikko Kaarela

    "What's the problem with you folks?"

    The problem is all the database stuff that goes behind these ID cards. It's the tracking, monitoring, surveillance stuff, especially when combined with such things as data sharing. It's what our Stalinesque government wants to use this stuff for that bothers us.

    But rather than type lots of stuff in answer to your question, I'll just refer you to NO2ID:

    If the State controls our identities, it owns our identities. If the State owns our identities, it owns us. If it owns us, we're slaves.

  48. Nigel

    Some new definition of "optional"?

    I was recently refused access to the funds in a long-standing ISA until I had supplied my original driving license (not a copy) and a utility bill (not an internet download). "Money Laundering Regulations", they said. Send them by recorded delivery post. What a glorious government-mandated opportunity for identity thieves!

    What, I wondered, if I had all my utilities and bank accounts on-line without paper statements, couldn't drive, and never travelled abroad so no passport either? They delined to answer. With things like this as of now, what are the chances of ever getting any of your money out of a bank without showing them your "optional" ID card, as soon as the accursed things are widespread? Be afraid. Be very afraid.

    @Mikko - it's not the cards I'm afraid of. It's the centralization of everything that anyone needs to steal my identity, in one big government database, with easy access to just about every civil servant in the country. Not one of them will ever be corrupt, we are assured. The toothpaste will never get out of the tube. And if it does, the UK's government will put it all back like it was before. And all future governments will always act in our best interests. If you believe that, can I sell you the Eiffel tower?

  49. Bod

    Brit passports in the EU

    The UK is opted out of the Schengen treaty, which is what lets EU citizens cross borders without needing to show a passport. Brits also can travel around the EU without showing a passport, unless they return to the UK, in which case a passport is definitely required for entry.

    Same goes for Ireland, although crossing between Ireland and the UK doesn't require showing a passport generally.

    In practice, going from the UK to Europe generally will result in a request to see your passport anyway, even if you get a rather "am I bovered" look from them.

  50. Anthony Mark

    The point?

    Compulsory passports would only be compulsory for British Citizens. How does this help prevent 'terror attacks' from foreign nationals?

    More likely just backing down in the vain hope they might win the next election.

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