Embargo: Immediate, Thursday 10th May 2007
GOVERNMENT HAS BROKEN LAW TO BURY BAD NEWS ON ID CARDS – CLEGG
The Government was today accused of breaking the law in an attempt to bury bad news after waiting until the day of Tony Blair’s resignation to publish a report on ID cards that reveals the cost of the project has gone up by £640m since October
The Government had previously refused to publish the report despite the fact that it was breaking the law by doing so.
Section 37 of The Identity Cards Act says that a report on the costs of ID Cards must be put before Parliament every six months. However, the Government has ignored that deadline, which would have seen the report published on 9th April.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat Shadow Home Secretary, Nick Clegg MP said:
“It is bad enough that the Government seeks to bury bad news behind the camouflage of Tony Blair’s announcement.
“Breaking the law to do so breaks new ground even for Tony Blair’s Labour Party.
“This bad news has been illegally postponed, and is only now published a full month beyond the statutory deadline. That shows the depths of cynicism and media manipulation to which ministers are now resorting to ram this increasingly unpopular scheme through.
“To add insult to injury, the statement itself is a laughable cocktail of statistical sophistry and contradictory claims.
“But beyond the smoke and mirrors, one simple statistic remains: the total cost of the ID card project by the Government’s own admission has gone up by £640m since October. The costs are now spiralling out of control. On the grounds of expense alone, the Government should do us all a favour and abandon this great white elephant before it is too late.”