Insights from the UK and beyond
The people of Manchester will soon be the first to be able to apply for an identity card, which the government says will help fight terrorism and reduce fraud. Opposition parties, however, oppose the five billion pound scheme and say it should be scrapped to save money and protect civil liberties.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the cards, which will be available in the city in the autumn ahead of a nationwide roll-out by 2012, will be voluntary. She said the move would allow Manchester citizens “the best chance to start realising the benefits of identity cards as soon as possible.
“ID cards will deliver real benefits to everyone, including increased protection against criminals, illegal immigrants and terrorists.”
The government has already started issuing ID cards to foreign nationals in the UK, but the Conservatives say they will scrap the scheme if they win the next election.
Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has apologised for using House of Commons expenses to claim the cost of two adult movies, watched by her husband while Smith was away from their family home.
The embarrassing incident is the latest in a series of rows over MPs’ expenses. Smith is already under investigation after claiming 116,000 pounds to pay for accommodation in London when she was living with her sister, while Works Minister Tony McNulty is under scrutiny after claiming 60,000 pounds for a house in Harrow, where his parents live, that is just 11 miles from the Commons.