New Citizenship Bill to bring compulsory ID cards via the back door

02 December 2008

Liberty Director Shami Chakrabarti said:

“Sneaking in compulsory identity cards via the back door of immigration law is a cynical escalation of this expensive and intrusive scheme.”

“In times of economic hardship, it’s good to see a bit less home office legislation but what there is leaves a lot to be desired.”

“We hope to see the right of peaceful protest returned to Parliament Square in the optimistically titled ‘Constitutional Renewal bill’.”

The Queen’s speech is expected to introduce the following home affairs legislation:

● Immigration and Citizenship Bill extends the categories of persons who have the power to require a valid identity document to be produced by individuals in the UK who have previously traveled outside the UK; introduces a new route to citizenship which could leave migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers in “limbo” without access to public services and employment safeguards for longer periods; and erodes appeal rights for anyone whose immigration permission has been cancelled after their arrival in the UK.

● Coroners and Death Certification Bill is expected to contain the controversial measures to hold inquests without juries and to allow a government Minister to directly appoint coroners for specific inquests. After fierce debate earlier this year, this power was removed from the now Counter-Terrorism Act 2008.

● Policing & Crime Reduction Bill includes greater use of uniforms for offenders and replaces local councillor members with directly elected policing representatives to reform Police Authorities.

● Constitutional Renewal Bill is expected to repeal sections 132-138 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 (SOCPA) which banned unauthorized peaceful protest within a one kilometre zone surrounding Westminster. For the last three years, Liberty has campaigned for peaceful protest to be allowed in Westminster and is currently challenging the ban in the European Court of Human Rights.

Contact: Jen Corlew on 0207 378 3656 or 0797 3 831 128