The House of Lords has again defeated the government over the introduction of compulsory ID cards.
The Lords defeated the government by 227 votes to 166 on a vote to retain an amendment in the Identity Cards Bill, which would allow passport applicants to get a passport without an ID card and to avoid the planned national identity register (NIR).
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MPs rejected this Lords’ amendment last month, and the government argued they should not support it again, as the bill had the support of MPs and that the policy was a Labour manifesto commitment.
But opponents among the Lords said Labour had promised in its manifesto to only make the ID card scheme voluntary when it was initially introduced.
Around 85% of the UK population has a passport, so under the proposed bill the majority of citizens would be forced to apply for an ID card when they renewed their passport.
Labour argued that allowing an opt-out from the NIR register would mean the system was incapable of fighting terrorism, fraud and illegal immigration.
The bill will now go back to the House of Commons for MPs to consider.