ID card scheme to be scrapped by Conservatives

Houses of Parliament

A Conservative MP is warning companies involved with the ID card scheme to avoid any further contracts, as the plans will be scrapped if the Conservatives win the next general election.

Chris Grayling, shadow home secretary, has written to all five suppliers who were bidding for the contracts to provide ID cards telling them a Tory government would immediately end the project.

He has also accused the Government of attempting to put in "poison pill provisions" to avoid a successive Government cancelling the plans.

Grayling said in a statement on the Conservative website: "We intend to scrap the ID card project as one of our first acts if we are successful at the election."

"I am increasingly concerned that the Government is putting in place contractual arrangements that are designed to tie the hands of a future Government, and I want to make the contractors absolutely aware that we do not intend to complete this work."

A Home Office spokesperson told IT PRO: "It is normal and fully within government guidelines to include break clauses in contracts of this kind. It is a decision for the government of the day to determine whether to invoke such clauses but equally it would be wholly inappropriate to do so on the basis of opposition policy."

"The home secretary has made clear the government remains fully committed to bringing forward measures to protect people's identity that have widespread public support".

Jim Killock, member of the Open Rights Group, strongly opposed to ID cards, said: "Obviously contractors will expect some certainty that they won't be left to foot the bill if their contracts are terminated early. But there's a difference between commercial needs and trying to subvert the ability of a future government to make it own decisions."

"There's no secret in the Conservative and Liberal Democrat's opposition to ID Cards, nor that they would seek to end the scheme; commercial contractors will no doubt have considered the possibility of the scheme being scrapped and built that into the arrangements they have made."

"Contracts shouldn't come before the democratic will of the people, and if Labour force the country to pay an unnecessary bill for scrapping the scheme, that's likely to leave a bitter taste for years to come."

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.