Tories continue anti-ID card pressure

The Scottish Conservative party today launched a new campaign against the government’s forthcoming national identity card scheme.

Annabel Goldie, leader of the Scottish Conservatives, will launch the campaign outside the Passport Office in Glasgow, arguing the scheme will be costly and ineffective.

The Conservatives claim ID cards will not prevent terrorist attacks, illegal immigration or identity theft and amount to an invasion of privacy.

Today’s campaign follows continued pressure from the Conservatives in Westminster, who yesterday repeated calls for the government to abandon the ID card scheme.

The call followed confirmation Accenture and BAE Systems have pulled out of the procurement process, with analysts speculating reports the nationwide ID card roll-out will be delayed until 2012 has created unwelcome uncertainty.

The Home Office said the two firms had pulled out following a “competitive dialogue process” and five pre-qualified IT suppliers will be in place by May.

Nevertheless, shadow home secretary David Davis said “every wheel is falling off this ramshackle policy”.

Mr Davis said: “Events of the last few days demonstrate that the government is losing its nerve and the private sector is losing its confidence that this ill thought through policy will ever come to fruition.

“The government should recognise this and abandon the scheme before the public are put at even more risk.”

Further leaked documents from the Home Office this week suggested students will be forced to apply for an ID card from 2010 in order to claim a student loan.

The government said ID cards would “assist” students in opening their first bank account but the Conservatives argued it amounted to the government “blackmailing” students.

Shadow immigration minister Damien Green said students would be made to apply for cards to obtain funding in a “straightforward blackmail” with the government acting to bolster a “failing policy”.