From: Andrew Johnson
Date: 2006-03-29 11:29:03
Democracy is just great, isn’t it? news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/… Hoon warns peers to back ID cards Mr Hoon hinted at reform of the House of LordsCommons leader Geoff Hoon has warned peers to stop blocking the government’s plans for all passport applicants to be given identity cards. The House of Lords has repeatedly voted against the proposal, which is backed by MPs. Mr Hoon told Sky News the “constant battle” must end and that peers should accept the will of the Commons. Opposition peers say cards should be voluntary, as pledged in the Labour general election manifesto. National register The Identity Cards Bill returns to the Lords this week, after MPs voted in its favour for a fourth time last Tuesday. The bill would compel anyone getting a passport from 2008 to also have an ID card and have their details added to the national identity register. The government says this means cards are still voluntary, but opposition parties claim it makes them compulsory “by stealth”. In theory, the bill could keep “ping-ponging” between the houses until an agreement is reached, or ministers override the Lords using the Parliament Act. Westminster insiders predict the government might force an all-night sitting on Wednesday to test the will of peers. Mr Hoon said: “I accept under present arrangements they are entitled to use the procedures in the way that they have. “But it’s always been recognised, indeed said to be a convention of the constitution, that once a government puts into its manifesto a particular proposal, then the House of Lords would not stand in the way of that proposal becoming law. “That’s one of the problems we have with ID cards. We set that out clearly in the manifesto last May – it was voted for by the British public. “It seems to me right now that the House of Lords should accept the will of the elected chamber – the House of Commons – and recognise that those people in the House of Commons, elected by a majority, set out in their manifesto that this should become law and now the House of Lords should give way.” Mr Hoon said talks would need to be held between all political parties to discuss House of Lords reform, but added he did not want to see “a benign second chamber”.